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‘Worst time’ to get moisture for Sask. farmers; crop report indicates wet weather slowing harvest

The arrival of winter weather has slowed Saskatchewan’s harvest, but some farmers in the south say they were able to get much of the work done before conditions turned sour.

The provincial government’s crop repot for the week of Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 said 73 per cent of the crop is in the bin, which is slightly behind the five-year average of 78 per cent for this time of year.

Milestone Mayor Jeff Brown, a grain farmer, said producers in his area are close to wrapping up their harvest. He said while it’s the “worst time” to get moisture, many were lucky.

“For the most part in our area guys, are pretty much wrapped up, but there’s the odd field here or there that’s still out,” Brown said.

“The crops we have out won’t downgrade because of it — it’s just hard to sit back and watch them sit out there, but it really isn’t going to do a whole lot of harm … so we’re not stressed out over it or nothing, it’s just the work’s not getting done.”

Brown said he’s heard similar reactions from other farmers.

“I’m not hearing a lot of doom and gloom in our area, but we were very lucky, very fortunate — most guys were 90 to 100 per cent done before the snow hit.”

What Brown has heard is consistent with reports from the province.

The most recent crop report said harvest is most advanced in the southwest region, where 90 per cent of the crop is now combined, followed by the southeastern region at 89 per cent combined, the west central region at 62 per cent and the east central region at 61 per cent.

For farmers in the Lanigan area like Blake Bergen, moisture is causing some problems.

“When you have the wet snow and the rain, the straw and the conditions actually make it so it’s impossible to combine,” he said, noting that although some crops are physically dry enough to be put through a combine, it’s still too wet to sell.

“The challenge is to get the moisture of the grain that we’re combining at an appropriate level that we’re able to sell and store safely.”

For the most part, farmers in the Lanigan area are “halfway to two-thirds” through harvest, but that can vary depending on the crop, he said.

“There are some elevators out there that will accept tougher grains and just apply discount, or shrink or drying charges, so it does give some farmers some options if they decide to take off grain a little tougher.”

Regions in Saskatchewan’s north are at the back of the pack when it comes to harvest. The northeastern region has about 45 per cent combined, and the northwestern region reported roughly 33 per cent of harvest combined.

Overall, “yield estimates at this time remain about average,” but they vary across the province depending on moisture throughout the season, according to the crop report.

SaskPower also reminds farmers to be careful operating farm equipment around power lines. In September, 13 instances of machinery coming in contact with overhead lines were reported.

(The previous article “’Worst time’ to get moisture for Sask. farmers; crop report indicates wet weather slowing harvest” was archived on “Oct. 5, 2018” from “https://bit.ly/2O4QGg6”)

 

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