Harvest is all but complete in Saskatchewan, with 99 per cent of the province’s crops now in the bin.
The provincial government’s final crop report of 2018 said warm, sunny weather in the second half of October allowed producers to finish combining.
While conditions were “less than ideal” for most of the fall, producers were able to pull off “average to above-average crop quality,” according to the report, which detailed conditions between Oct. 30 and Nov. 5.
Crops that came off the fields before the snow fell in September have been grading in the top two categories, but crops taken off the field at a later date have been downgraded due to “sprouting, bleaching, staining and frost.”
Reports of diseases such as fusarium head blight and ergot affecting crop production in 2018 were limited, the report stated, adding that weather throughout the fall also caused crop yields to “vary greatly” across the province.
Despite this, provincial yields are about on par with the 10-year average, although many areas are reporting higher-than-expected yields thanks to timely rain.
Yields in many of the southern and central areas were hit by hot and dry conditions over the summer. Average yields for barley were 61 bushels per acre; hard red spring wheat was pegged at 43 bushels per acre; canola was at 38 bushels per acre; field peas were at 35 bushels per acre and soybeans at 22 bushels per acre.
Lentil harvests came in a 1,236 lbs. per acre; chickpeas were at 1,153 lbs. per acre. Dry-land crops, like alfalfa and alfalfa brome, came in at one ton per acre; tame hay was at 0.9 tons per acre, wild hay at 0.7 tons per acre and greenfield hay at 1.7 tons per acre.
The crop report noted most livestock producers said they well have enough hay, stray and feed for the winter, but producers in the drier areas said shortages are likely if the winter season is extended.
Topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions remain a concern in much of Saskatchewan, but the crop report indicates they have “drastically improved” with the arrival of snow and rain. However, much more will be needed to replenish what has been lost through the growing season.
Crop producers are expected to return to the fields to combine remaining crops as the weather improves, since snow and rain in early November slowed harvest efforts.
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