Saskatchewan

Strong winds, drought, hail, heat and grasshoppers taking toll on Sask. farmers' fields: crop report

The challenges continue for many agriculture producers in Saskatchewan as the province deals with an unseasonably hot and dry growing season.

Report says some producers have started harvesting due to heat

Drought conditions are creating problems for Saskatchewan on both crop and pasture land. (Kirk Fraser/CBC News)

The challenges continue for many agriculture producers in Saskatchewan as the province deals with an unseasonably hot and dry growing season.

Strong winds, drought, hail, heat and grasshoppers are all taking a toll on crops, according to the province's latest crop report, which covers July 20 to 26. Some producers have already begun harvesting due to the heat accelerating maturation and ripening of crops.

"There is little producers can do at this point in the season to address these environmental factors out of their control," the report says.

"The estimated yields for many crops across the province is expected to be well below average. Any rain now won't increase yields but would have a positive effect next year."

Haying is also continuing throughout the province. Livestock producers have 15 per cent of hay crop cut and 75 per cent baled or put into silage, according to the report, with many producers across the province finishing their haying operations.

However, many farmers have indicated that hay yields are below normal this year, especially in areas that received less rain in early summer. A second cut is extremely unlikely, the report says.

There was some rain around the province this past week.

Areas around Indian Head and Neilburg saw 55 millimetres, the Lumsden area received 33 millimetres, the Langenburg area had 30 millimetres and the Saltcoats area saw 24. 

In response to the challenging growing season, the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) has doubled the Low Yield Appraisal threshold values, without negatively affecting future coverage, for customers who salvage their cereal or pulse crops as feed, according to the report.

Customers are asked to contact their local SCIC office before they graze, bale or silage any damaged crops.

The province is also temporarily increasing the maximum funding a livestock producer can receive from the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program for dugouts, wells and pipelines for agricultural use. The change will be in effect from April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022.

The Farm Stress Line is available for support. It is a confidential service available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week at 1-800-667-4442.

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