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Harvest edges above average

Warm weather has led to reports of above average harvest activity across much of Saskatchewan, where 66 percent of the crop has been harvested, compared to just 39 percent last week, and up from the five year avearge of 63 percent.


September 23, 2008
By Saskatoon Star Phoenix

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September 23, 2008

A run of dry, warm weather has boosted the 2008 harvest in Saskatchewan, which is now slightly above the five-year average.


According to the Ministry of Agriculture's weekly crop report, 66 percent of the crop has been harvested, up from 39 percent last week. The five-year (2003-07) average is 63 percent harvested.


The process is furthest advanced in the southwest, where 73 percent of operations are complete, and is least advanced in the northwest, where just 47 percent of the crop is off.


There has been some downgrading of cereal crops because of rain and some damage to crop quality due to scattered frost in isolated areas, said Bruce Burnett, director of weather and market analysis for the Canadian Wheat Board. As well, the government is reporting ergot damage in some of the crops harvested across the east side of the province.


"Historically speaking, we're still looking for the quality to be very close to average this year unless we receive some more debilitating rains over the coming weeks," Burnett said. "The harvest needs to come off and as I said, crop quality has been affected and in order to prevent it from being further affected we need those two weeks of warm and dry weather.


"The prices have eased off a bit, but historically speaking they're still very good. The only concern, of course, is the cost that it takes to produce a crop has also increased substantially."


Harvesting progress varies between the major crops. Spring wheat is 64 per cent complete, durum is 67 percent, canola is 57 percent and lentils and peas are 96 percent complete. According to provincial crop reporters, producers were pleased with the amount of harvest progress they achieved during the past seven days.


In addition to harvesting, some producers were busy seeding the last of the winter wheat and fall rye. Others were busy with post-harvest spraying and getting their winter feed supply baled and hauled.