Rain o’er me: Prairie provinces see much-needed rain in time to disrupt harvest
September 2, 2021 By Top Crop Manager
When it rains, it pours – and never when it’s convenient. The Prairies are finally seeing some rain to ameliorate the baked soils and crops caused by the extreme heat and drought of the past two months. While it is too late in many cases to help crops and is causing harvest delays, it remains excellent news for soil moisture levels and hay and pasture crops, which might rebound in time to support fall grazing for livestock.
As of Aug. 31, damp and humid conditions have delayed harvest and will affect the quality of the yet-unharvested cereal crops. Overall harvest progress is 35 per cent complete, with winter wheat and fall rye at 100 per cent completion, and field pea nearing completion at 98 per cent province-wide. Spring wheat, barley and oats are well underway (>80 per cent) in the Central, East and Interlake regions; flax harvest has begun in the Central region.
The recent substantial rains is a blessing and a curse: while it’s negatively affecting harvest, causing machinery to leave ruts in fields and won’t improve the quality or yield of most crops, soil moisture conditions have improved rapidly, with the top 30 centimetres showing optimal to wet soil conditions. As well, hay and pastureland has now greened up, and livestock producers are intensively managing regrowth areas to support fall grazing. |READ MORE
Despite cool, rainy weather delaying combine progress, as of Aug. 24 harvest progress sits at 29 per cent complete – well above the five-year average of 12 per cent for this time of year. Winter wheat (93 per cent) and fall rye (91 per cent) are leading the harvest charge, with field pea (81 per cent) and lentils (76 per cent) coming along as well. Six per cent of canola has been combined, with an additional 30 per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut.
Several large weather systems moved through the province last week, resulting in significant amounts of precipitation, along with hail in some areas. While the rain will result in downgrading of crops still in the field, it is improving soil moisture conditions and will benefit pastures, hopefully allowing them to regrow for next year. |READ MORE
As of Aug. 24, combined major crop progress for the province sits at 16.5 per cent – more than double the five- and 10-year averages (8.0 and 3.0 per cent, respectively). Field pea is far and away the crop with the most harvest progress, with 71.9 per cent combined; barley (22.9 per cent) and spring wheat (14.6 per cent) are the two next most progressed major crops.
The drop in temperatures two weeks prior and the widespread rains – almost all areas have received 10 to 80 millimetres of rain – remains welcome and will replenish much-needed soil moisture reserves, even if the moisture is too late to support most crops. |READ MORE