Crop Districts 6B – Hanley, Outlook, Loreburn, Saskatoon and Arelee areas;
Crop District 7A – Rosetown, Kindersley, Eston, Major;
Crop District 7B - Kerrobert, Macklin, Wilkie and Biggar areas
For the Period October 17 to 23, 2017
Harvest is all but wrapped up in the west-central region. However, there are a few fields such as canola and flax left to be combined. Fall work continues and many producers in the area have been able to reclaim acres lost to flooding in previous years.
Crop yields vary greatly throughout the region but overall are about average, thanks to timely rain during the growing season. Crops such as lentils, field peas, soybeans and canary seed are slightly above average for the region. Crop quality is the best it has been in a number of years, mainly due to lack of fall moisture and limited issues with diseases such as fusarium head blight. The majority of crops are falling within the top two grades.
Small amounts of rainfall were received in the region, although it wasn’t enough to keep producers out of the field. The Cando area has reported the most precipitation (314 mm) in the region since April 1.
Topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions have worsened in the region with the recent strong winds and lack of moisture. Significant amounts of moisture will be needed to replenish what has been lost this summer; seeding conditions will likely be impacted for next spring if fields remain dry. The fire risk remains high in many areas of the region and grass and stubble fires continue to be reported. Heading into winter, topsoil moisture on cropland is rated as 35 per cent adequate, 49 per cent short and 16 per cent very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 30 per cent adequate, 50 per cent short and 20 per cent very short.
Average hay yields on dry land are reported as (in tons per acre): alfalfa and alfalfa/brome 0.9; other tame hay and wild hay 0.67; and greenfeed 1.5. On irrigated land, average hay yields are reported as: alfalfa and other tame hay 3.0, alfalfa/brome 3.3; and greenfeed 3.5.
At this time, most livestock producers have indicated that they will have adequate amounts of hay, straw, greenfeed and feed grain heading into winter. However, there are some areas reporting inadequate winter feed supplies and shortages may be likely.
The number of acres seeded to winter cereals is slightly below average in most areas. Although rain was finally received in late September, many producers did not seed winter cereals as fields were still too dry and there were concerns of crops germinating and establishing properly prior to winter.
Farmers are busy working fields, hauling bales and grain, moving cattle, cleaning up fields, fixing fences and putting down fertilizer.