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Provincial harvest rates well above average for this time of year

While many producers are nearing the end of harvest, this early end to the season is not a positive indicator
combines in field 2021 photo by eugenie officer
Combines finishing up the last of the field as last week’s storm clouds descend. Even with the break in harvest onset by rain, the season has progressed significantly quicker than most.

As of last Tuesday, 56 percent of the province's crop was in the bin. This number is up from 36 percent last week, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture's weekly crop report. With over half of the province's crop in the bin, producers are far ahead of the average of 35 percent for this week, compared to the last five years (2016-2020).

Although this harvest season was sped up significantly, these statistics are quite alarming to most producers. The heatwave forced crops to mature very rapidly and sped up this year’s harvest significantly.   

Matt Struthers, crops extension specialist for Saskatchewan Agriculture, explained that this year, producers started the spring with just enough moisture to get seed in the ground and then just barely enough rain to encourage a little bit of early crop growth. With July being a critical month for plant growth, the year's mid-summer heat wave stunted crops just as they began to flower and produce pods. 

As of recently, the southwest region has made the most progress, with 75 percent of the crop now combined.

A number of other areas have followed closely behind. The southeast has 67 per cent combined, the west-central 58 per cent, the east-central 38 per cent, the northeast 47 per cent and the northwest 37 per cent.

Much of the province’s, fall rye, durum, lentils, peas, chickpeas, mustard, and barley are now out of the field, with Canola being the biggest crop left to combine. 

Although exact yield numbers have not yet been released, Struthers explains that the Moose Jaw area may see some close to average yields compared to other areas of the province. 

The Moose Jaw region received slightly more moisture than other areas. 

"Down here around the Moose Jaw area, harvest is going along well; there is not a lot left sitting out there anymore. I've heard from a few producers that I have spoken to that never in the history of their multi-generation farm have they finished harvest in August, but some finished up in August, which is quite abnormal," said Struthers. 

The report states that as of September 6th, the estimated average provincial crop yields and quality had reflected a tremendous impact from this summer's drought. The results indicated 27 bushels per acre for hard red spring wheat, 19 bushels per acre for durum, 38 bushels per acre for barley, 20 bushels per acre for canola, 21 bushels per acre for field peas and 817 pounds per acre for lentils.

To find the full crop report, visit Saskatchewan.ca/crop-report. During harvest season, the weekly report is published every Thursday.