This year’s hot, dry weather has enabled farmers to get an early start on harvest operations, with four per cent of the 2015 crop already in the bin, well ahead of the five-year average, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly crop report.
“We really haven’t had this kind of progress in a number of years.’’ said Shannon Friesen, cropping management specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture’s Moose Jaw region.
“We’re at least two weeks ahead. Last year at this time, we were dessicating (pulse crops) and starting to swath, but the combines weren’t really rolling until the latter part of the month.’’
Friesen added that the early start to spring seeding also helped farmers get a jump on harvest this year. “This spring, we had adequate moisture for seeding and it warmed up a lot quicker (than usual). So we were able to get back into the field a lot earlier this year and with lack of moisture (crops) ripened very quickly.’’
Sixty-two per cent of fall rye, 34 per cent of winter wheat, 19 per cent of field peas and 17 per cent of lentils are now in the bin. Six per cent of canola and three per cent of mustard are swathed.
Not surprisingly, most of the progress has been made in the southwest, which bore the brunt of this year’s drought-like-conditions. The area has had minimal rainfall since April, with topsoil and pasture moisture conditions ranging from short to adequate. The southwest received between five to 10 mm of rain during the past week, with some areas receiving only trace amounts.
About 12 per cent of crop has been harvested in the southwest, including 82 per cent of fall rye, 52 per cent of winter wheat, 42 per cent of the field peas, 29 per cent of lentils and one per cent of the canola.
Friesen said the harvested crops have been “good quality, so far’’ but yield has been spotty. “Some of the crops are short (and) very thin. There’s not a lot of yield coming off; there’s disease in some cases. If you did manage to get some rain, a lot of those crops look better, but from what we’re hearing from the pulse harvest, yields just aren’t where we thought they would be. They look fanstastic but once (farmers) start cutting into it, they’re finding yields are half of what they were expecting.’’
Rainfall this past week ranged from trace amounts to more than three inches in some areas. Provincially, topsoil moisture conditions on cropland are rated as 10 per cent surplus, 72 per cent adequate, 17 per cent short and one per cent very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as four per cent surplus, 66 per cent adequate, 26 per cent short and four per cent very short.
Haying continues as time and weather permit. Some crop damage was caused by localized flooding, hail, wind and insects such as aphids and diamondback moths.
(Source – http://www.leaderpost.com/life/Farmers+early+start+harvest+thanks+weather/11287951/story.html)