Sask. farmers race to bring in harvest before rain and snow hit
Growers slightly behind 5-year average, parts of southern Saskatchewan could see 25 to 50 mm of rain
As a large weather system heads towards the province, farmers are hoping to get as much of their crop into the bin as possible.
A low pressure system coming from southeastern Montana will be pushing rain (and maybe snow) into southern Saskatchewan starting tomorrow. Some parts of the grainbelt could see 25 to 50 mm of rain, while the Cypress Hills could see up to 10 cm of snow.
Meanwhile, this fall's weather has not been helping out with harvest. According to the province's latest crop report, 70 percent of this year's harvest has been combined. The five-year average sits at 79 per cent.
"Some fields are wet, some are dry. We've been stuck a couple times fighting with the mud, but we're getting it done," she said.
Yields up, quality down
Hiduk said she's pleased with the yields she's seen so far. Some of her barley was selected for malt, and wheat has run between 50 and 60 bushels per acre. Her canola came in at just over 40 bushels an acre.
She said despite spraying for fusarium earlier this summer, her wheat was downgraded in quality because of the fungus, which is showing up in cereal crops across the province.
"The crop never really dried out all that well during the growing season," said Brent Flaten, an integrated pest management specialist with the ministry. "And as a result, there's a lot of fusarium head blight in the wheats, but it's also showing up in some of the other cereals like oats and barley."
Fusarium head blight is a fungal disease of small grains.
Early snow a concern
"It is concerning," said Paul Janzen, whose family was combining oats Monday southeast of Saskatoon. "It isn't dry. We're taking it regardless, and we're hoping to be able to aerate it down. It's not damp, it's just tough, So we're hoping it'll be all right, and maybe it's not as much snow as what they're telling us to expect."
He said sporadic moisture throughout the growing season has slowed harvest, although at least two-thirds of his family's crops are now in the bin.
"If we get any significant amount of snow we could be down at least a week before we're back going again," Janzen said.
The most recent crop report shows harvest is most advanced in the southwestern grainbelt.
East central areas report only 61 per cent of the crop is combined.