Rain still keeping farmers out of northwest fields

By Geoff Smith
September 1, 2016 - 5:00pm

While farmers around the province are keeping on track with this year’s harvest, the northwest region is behind. But that’s not so unusual, when looking at recent years.

According to the crop report for the week ending Aug. 29, only five per cent of the northwest crop is in the bin, while another 35 per cent is swathed or ready to straight-cut. However, Daphne Cruise, crop management specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, said that’s on par with the five-year average for the region. And it’s ahead of the average level of progress for swathing. But it’s behind the 13 per cent progress level one year ago.

“When it comes to the five-year average, it’s all over the map, and I think there’s a lot of crop ready in the northwest. It’s just a matter of getting a break in the weather to get at it,” Cruise said.

Any progress that was made happened when the rain let up on the weekend. Rainfall amounts for the week range from 44 mm at Turtleford, to 28 mm at the Battlefords, to just 4 mm at Speers.

“This time of year it doesn’t take much before the combines are stalled in the field,” Cruise said. “I think most of the progress was made in swathing of the canola crop. So that’s always good news.”

The level of harvest progress is at its lowest in the district West of the Battlefords to Lloydminster, and North to Meadow Lake. Recent rain caused some bleaching in cereal crops, and staining in pea crops, but yields are still expected to be good. Little damage was anticipated from a slight frost on the weekend.

Farmers in the west-central region made more progress, with eight per cent of the crop now combined, and 28 per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut. But more of that progress is closer to Saskatoon, with very little in the water-logged Kindersley-Rosetown area. Rainfall amounts include 30 mm at Macklin, 26 mm at Cando, and the Luseland region received 46 mm.

High humidity is preventing many west-central farmers from drying down their crops, and diseases like mould, blackleg, fusarium head blight, and sclerotinia have been reported at high levels.

Overall progress is 18 per cent in Saskatchewan, behind last year’s 29 per cent, but about on par with the five-year average.


Geoff Smith is battlefordsNOW's News Director, business and agriculture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected] or tweet him @smithco.  

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