Harvest in Saskatchewan is well ahead of schedule, but some producers say they are seeing below-average yields and moisture levels stay low because of this season’s drought, as per the region’s latest weekly crop report.
The report released Thursday indicates 20% of crops are now in the bin, compared to a 5-year average of 4% for this time of year.
Some farmers in the southern part of the region are more than halfway completed combining, as the report.
Harvest breakdown per region:
- Southwest – 34 per cent combined.
- Southeast – 33 per cent combined.
- West-central – 18 per cent combined.
- Northeast – 14 per cent combined.
- East-central – 13 per cent combined.
- Northwest – seven per cent combined.
Harvest breakdown per crop:
- Winter wheat – 83 per cent combined.
- Fall rye – 75 per cent combined.
- Field peas and lentils – 64 per cent combined.
- Barley – 25 per cent combined.
- Spring wheat – 13 per cent combined.
Another 14% is ready to straight combine whereas 5% of crops are swathed, putting farmers of that 5-year average by 7%, the report said.
The drought this summer has affected yields, though.
“Some producers have indicated that yields are worse than they expected while those who got timely rains are reporting they are seeing yields closer to average,” as per the report.
Topsoil moisture levels declining
With very little rain this past week, topsoil moisture levels have gone on to fall across Sask., the report claims.
Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 4% adequate, 29% and 67% very short.
It additionally rated topsoil moisture on hay and pasture land as 2% adequate, 21% short and 77% very short.
Rainfall totals between Aug. 10 to 16:
- Lipton – 20 millimetres.
- Meacham – 11 millimetres.
- Nipawin – eight millimetres.
- Raymore – seven millimetres.
- Biggar – three millimetres.
Rain is in the forecast for most places this coming week, which farmers are thankful for, according to the report, even though it will delay their combining and not impact their yield.
“Pastures that no longer have cattle on them will benefit from the rain and have a chance to recover from the severe drought conditions of the season,” the report said.
Support for producers
Sask. said it is still working to finalize details for its recently announced AgriRecovery response for livestock producers, which is set to offer a per-head payment to help maintain female breeding stock.
It said that producers don’t need to be enrolled in any existing programs to qualify for its funding.
Producers can visit www.scic.ca or call Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation at 1-888-935-0000 for updates.
In response to the feed shortage in 2021 across Saskatchewan, the corporation has doubled the low-yield appraisal threshold values for those who salvaged their cereal or pulse crops as feed. If the appraised yield falls below the threshold, the appraisal can be reduced to zero, the firm’s website claims.
Before they graze, silage or bale any damaged crops, customers are asked to contact their local crop insurance office to discuss their options.
The Sask. government has also temporarily increased the maximum funding a livestock producer can receive from the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program. That includes funding for dugouts, pipelines and wells for agricultural use.
For more information, producers can call the Ministry of Agriculture’s agriculture knowledge centre at 1-866-457-2377.
The federal and provincial governments have additionally increased the AgriStability interim benefit payment up to 75%. Sask. producers enrolled in the benefit can access a portion of the funds earlier to help cover costs and support losses.
To apply for the AgriStability interim benefit, producers can call their local Sask. Crop Insurance Corporation office, call 1-886-270-8450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, producers are reminded they can confidentially call the Farm Stress Line, which is run by Mobile Crisis Services Regina, at 1-800-667-4442. Mental health supports are available 24/7.