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Harvest has wrapped up early in the region allowing producers to complete some fall work as weather conditions allow. Fall weed control and fertilizer applications have been limited for some due to dry soil conditions and recent rising costs for crop input and pest control products.
Crop yields vary in the region, with most of the yields reported to be below average with some producers yielding half of what they normally do. Yields varied depending on the amount of moisture received throughout the growing season and the severe dry conditions and hot temperatures resulted in a reduction in yields. Lack of fall moisture allowed for early harvest completion as well as good crop quality in the region with the majority of crops falling within the top two grades.
While dry harvest conditions this fall favoured harvest progress, producers have concerns about lack of topsoil and subsoil moisture. The dry field conditions affected crop, hay and pasture production in the region and there are several reports of dry dugouts, sloughs and creeks leaving many producers worried for next year. Livestock producers are starting to have trouble sourcing water for their cattle.
Producers are in need of high amounts of precipitation to improve soil moisture conditions as well as replenish critical water sources that have dried out due to lack of rainfall this year. Heading into winter, cropland topsoil moisture is rated as 11 per cent adequate, 49 per cent short and 40 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as nine per cent adequate, 40 per cent short and 51 per cent very short.
Average hay yields on dry land are reported (in tons per acre) as: alfalfa 0.66; alfalfa/brome 0.72; other tame hay 0.45; wild hay 0.47; and greenfeed 1.06. At this time, some livestock producers have indicated that they will have inadequate to adequate hay, straw, greenfeed and feed grain heading into winter, but many do have concerns about shortages, particularly of hay and greenfeed. Many producers will have to consider reducing their herd sizes in order to ensure enough feed supplies throughout the winter.
Crop reporters have indicated that the acres seeded to winter cereals are below average this year due to the dry fall field conditions in the region and concerns with poor germination and establishment caused but the extreme lack of moisture in much of the region.
Producers are busy hauling bales, cleaning up fields, working low spots and sloughs and moving livestock.
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