Yields good, but quality a concern as harvest moves forward

By Geoff Smith
September 8, 2016 - 5:00pm

Producers in western Saskatchewan are getting long enough breaks from the rain to keep the harvest on track, but the moisture continues to take a toll on quality.

According to the crop report for the week ending Sept. 5, 14 per cent of the northwest crop is in the bin, ahead of the five-year average of 12 per cent. The west central area is at 25 per cent, while the five-year average for the region is 23 per cent. Both areas have large additional portions swathed or ready to straight-cut.

Daphne Cruise, regional crops specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, said the early part of the week was good for combining before wet weather returned.

“But definitely if we can get our four, five days at a time, especially with the way this year has been shaping up to be, I think producers will take it,” she said. “Of course we don’t want any rain at harvest time, but the combines will roll when they can. So that’s kind of what’s been happening, and a lot of progress made in swathing of the crop as well.”

With the exception of lentils, yields are expected to be very good, including peas, which Cruise said is a bit of surprise considering pulses’ susceptibility to problems from rain.

“Pulses tend not to like too much moisture. But for the most part it sounds like producers are surprised at how the peas have held up over the course of the summer,” she said. “So some pretty big yields being talked about. Of course, right now it’s the quality that’s causing the concern just because of the wet weather we’ve been having.”

Cruise said the waves of showers are causing bleaching and fusarium head blight in cereal crops, and staining in pulse crops. Rainfall amounts during the week included 12 mm at Debden, 8 mm at Speers, 3 mm around Meadow Lake, and traces farther south. Some light frost during the weekend in the Meadow Lake/Glaslyn area was not expected to cause much damage.

In the northwest, nine per cent of the spring wheat, 16 per cent of barley, three per cent of the oat crop, eight per cent of the canola, 80 per cent of field peas, but none of the flax crop, is in the bin.

As for the west central harvest, 99 per cent of winter wheat and fall rye, 10 per cent of spring wheat, six per cent of the durum crop, 12 per cent of the barley, five per cent of oats, nine per cent of canaryseed, two per cent of the flax, 16 per cent of canola, six per cent of mustard, one per cent of soybeans, and 80 per cent of the field peas have been combined.

Total harvest progress for the province is at 32 per cent, ahead of the five-year average of 28 per cent. Another 38 per cent is swathed or ready to straight cut.


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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