Dry regions show spotty crop success as harvest gets underway in Sask.

Harvest is underway in many areas of Saskatchewan, and farmers are getting a sense of how the hot and dry summer has affected their yields.

Farmers in southeastern Sask. say their crop results are ranging from average to devastating

Harvest is underway in Saskatchewan after a hot and dry summer for most. (Bonnie Allen/CBC)

Harvest is underway in many areas of Saskatchewan, and farmers are getting a sense of how the hot and dry summer has affected their yields. 

In southeastern Saskatchewan, which had some of the driest conditions, the crop success is spotty, ranging from average to devastating. 

Bjorn Bjorndalen, who farms near Torquay, has not started his harvest yet, but says his crop has been set back around three weeks because of the hot, dry and windy weather this summer. He says the output will not be good.

"This will be my worst crop since 1985, when we had a dry year."

He does say that just a few kilometres away, things look better.

"Some of the farmers are scattered around; some have some great stuff and some have some devastating stuff."

Variation in yield

Despite this year's yield, Bjorndalen is staying positive, saying they've had a great run for weather in the past few decades.

"The '90s have been good up to now," he said. "We've had pretty good luck. It averages out pretty fair."

Closer to Regina, which experienced its driest July in 130 years, it's a similar story for Lee Moats. He farms around 50 kilometres southeast of the Queen City near Riceton.

Moats is about halfway through harvest and is seeing variation in the yield. 

"We, like many people in our area, have found the lentils to be quite surprising," says Moats.

"Nearly an average yield for us but some people have done even better than that."

Scorching heat and almost no rain has hurt crop production in southern Saskatchewan. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

Soil moisture conditions

Moats says his winter cereals are disappointing, which he expected following the dry spring.

"It's amazing, with the very dry conditions we've had, that we have the level of crop production that we do ... It's not an average crop, but it's still amazing that there is anything there."

Moats says a high level of moisture in the soil coming into the growing season and advances in farming practices have helped.

The harvest is looking more promising for Kris Mayerle, who farms near Tisdale, northeast of Saskatoon. 

"We're probably a little more fortunate," says Mayerle.

"We've come through quite a few wet years. We had a little bit of drier summer but with the sub soil moisture we had and early rains we had in May and June ... it brought us through the year pretty well and our crops look OK."

Mayerle says his crops will likely be average or even above average. 

Crop report

According to the latest crop report, producers in the province have seven per cent of the crop in the bin and seven per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut which is slightly above the five-year average for this time of year.

Progress is most advanced in the southwest region where 17 per cent of the crop is now combined. Harvest is slowest in the east-central region, with one per cent combined.

with files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition