Cool Wet Weather Delays Harvest But Improves Soil Moisture Conditions
The weather being uncooperative for agriculture in 2019 might well be the top story for farmers and the weather hardship continues for many producers.
The hot dry Spring impacted many farms and now the cool wet weather is not only slowing the harvest but it is also affecting quality that is according to the latest crop report from Saskatchewan Agriculture.
The harvest is now 47 percent complete compared to the five year average - 2014 to 2018 - of 75 percent at this time of year.
The region with the most crop in the bin is the southwest where 68 percent of the crop has been combined to the east central region where only 33 percent of the crop is in the bin.
The Moose Jaw region saw 60 mm of precipitation last week from rain and wet snow which has not only delayed harvesting due to wet conditions but has caused crop damage finding lodging.
Lodging is where the standing crop is flattened - in this case by wet snow - and then tangled making it not only harder to pick up and run through a combine but also it takes longer for the crop to dry so it can be combined.
Some farmers are using grain dryers, which use natural gas or propane and increase production costs, to dry wet grain. Grain with too high of a moisture content has the potential to rot and spoil.
The wet conditions though have improved soil moisture conditions throughout the province with 31 percent of topsoil having surplus soil moisture, 65 percent adequate and four percent short of moisture on crop land.
For pasture and hay land the moisture situation is even better than crop land with 20 percent surplus, 72 adequate, seven percent short and one percent very short.
Warm and dry weather is needed for the harvest to be completed.