Top Crop Manager

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Prairie crop update: Harvest earlier and quality lower than usual

August 19, 2021  By Top Crop Manager

While many regions on the Prairies saw some much-needed rain, it may be a case of too little, too late. However, every little bit helps in replenishing topsoil moisture and may help hay and pasture, as well as improve grain fill for late-seeded crops.


Large swaths of the province received low to moderate rainfall in the two weeks preceding Aug. 10. While the moisture is welcome, especially in hay and pasture fields, it is likely too late to help most annual crops.

Crop development was accelerated by the June and July heatwave, but many crops look weak, with small head sizes and unfilled kernels. Crop condition ratings currently show 18.2 per cent of crops in good or excellent condition, far below the five- and 10-year averages of 69 per cent and 69.9 per cent, respectively.


Provincially, 62 per cent of fall rye, 44 per cent of winter wheat, 32 per cent of lentils, 19 per cent of dry peas and
14 per cent of both durum wheat and triticale are now in the bin, accounting for about four per cent of all crops. |READ MORE


As of Aug. 9, the hot weather has pushed crop maturity and harvest progress beyond the the five-year average for this time of year. Seven per cent of crops have been combined, compared to the five-year average of one per cent, and six per cent are ready to straight combine as opposed to the average of two per cent. Fifty-four per cent of winter wheat, 51 per cent of fall rye, 37 per cent of field peas and 29 per cent of lentils are now in the bin.

Some much-needed rain has fallen in scattered showers across the province, which has caused minor harvest delays but little consternation due to the benefits it brings. The rainfall did little to ameliorate the drought conditions and more rain would help late-seeded crops fill the last of their seed. The biggest benefit of the rain will be to pasture land that has struggled to endure the drought.

The federal and provincial governments have also increased the 2021 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50 per cent to 75 per cent for Saskatchewan producers. The interim benefit provides the opportunity for producers who are enrolled in AgriStability to access a portion of their benefit early, to help support losses and cover costs. To apply for an interim benefit, producers can contact their local SCIC office, call the AgriStability Call Centre toll-free at 1-886-270-8450, or email |READ MORE


As of Aug. 17, rainfall from last week and cooler temperatures this week have helped to restore some crops and soil moisture levels. However, the extreme heat experienced over the weekend eliminated much of these benefits.

Harvest progress, which currently sits at 21 per cent complete, is well ahead of the four-year average of 14 per cent for this time of year. While the percentage of crops rated good to excellent has dropped since the previous week, it only dropped by one per cent and currently sits at 44 per cent.

Canola crops are facing some of the poorest growing conditions in the past decade or more. Farmers are expecting average yields to drop to 10-year lows due to continued environmental and insect stresses.

Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development has curated a page for resources and calculators relating to dry conditions and drought, which livestock and crop farmers may find helpful in making decisions in this difficult year. |READ MORE


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