Thanks to some relatively warm and dry weather, many producers wrapped up harvest this past week. Ninety-four per cent of the crop is now in the bin, up from 89 per cent last week. Harvest progress remains ahead of the five year (2012-2016) average of 90 per cent for this time of year. Most producers with crop remaining in the field have indicated that they only need another week or two of ideal weather to complete harvest. Much of the crop in the last few weeks has come off tough and been placed in aeration bins.
Harvest is essentially complete in the southwestern region, as 99 per cent of the crop is now combined. The southeastern and west-central regions have 97 per cent combined, while the east-central and northeastern regions have 92 per cent. The northwestern region has 87 per cent combined.
Ninety-seven per cent of durum, 96 per cent of barley, 95 per cent of spring wheat, 94 per cent of canaryseed, 93 per cent of canola, 92 per cent of oats, 80 per cent of soybeans and 79 per cent of flax have now been combined.
"We do have some colder overnight temperatures in the forecast, so hopefully we do get some heavy frosts and some of those crops are ready to come in," said Shannon Friesen, a Cropping Management Specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture. She added that producers are just waiting for the leftover crops to drydown so they can finish harvest.
The majority of the province received little to no moisture last week, although the Foam Lake area reported 43 mm of precipitation. Topsoil moisture conditions remain relatively unchanged from last week. Significant amounts of moisture will be needed to replenish both the topsoil and the subsoil for next spring. Across the province, topsoil moisture on cropland is rated as four per cent surplus, 40 per cent adequate, 44 per cent short and 12 per cent very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as two per cent surplus, 31 per cent adequate, 45 per cent short and 22 per cent very short.
"We did get some moisture at the beginning of the month, but unfortunately our soil is so dry that the moisture just went right in and didn't fully replenish the topsoil for us. And of course we have had some very strong winds as well, so things have been drying up," Friesen stated.
"Hopefully we do get some moisture over the next couple of weeks. Maybe we can get some of that heavy, wet snow so that both the topsoil and the subsoil can be replenished prior to freeze up."
At this time, most livestock producers have indicated having adequate supplies of hay, straw, greenfeed and feed grain heading into winter. However, producers in southern regions are reporting that many areas will have inadequate feed and that shortages are likely.
"Most of that is due to the hot and dry conditions we had, we just didn't have enough plant growth. The first cut of hay wasn't what we would've liked it to be, and many producers weren't able to have a second cut."
"Hopefully we'll be able to alleviate some of that by using other sources of feed such as grain, and shifting some of the hay around the province. Many producers in the north actually have a surplus of feed, so we might be able to move things around a bit so that the south isn't dealing with as much of a shortage," Friesen noted, adding that these circumstances have certainly been seen in recent years, though not in the last few.
The majority of crop damage this past week was due to frost, lack of moisture, strong winds and wildlife such as geese and deer.
Producers are busy combining, completing fall work and moving cattle.
SaskPower received three reports last week of farm machinery coming in contact with electrical equipment, bringing the total since the beginning of September to 34. Producers are urged to be especially careful when using equipment around power lines.
Looking ahead at the next couple of weeks, Friesen shared that most farmers are hoping for continued clear weather until everything is in the bin and the fall work is completed. Then, a good soaking would be in order.