October Weather Will Be Key For 2019 Harvest

Davidson area farmer Rob Stone has not been able to combine a ”dry” bushel of grain this year.

“Some of it has been close, kind of 15 (percent) moisture, maybe 15.5 on wheat and 13.5 on the lentils,” said Stone.

Aeration and grain drying equipment have been vital tools in getting crop off in damp conditions. It’s been a familiar pattern—-the weather improves for a couple of days, but ongoing showers prevent growers from getting that much needed extended stretch of good harvest weather.

Stone has about 40 percent of his crop off, well behind normal. October combining is not unusual, but the amount of work remaining is.

“Even in years where we’ve had trouble, it seemed like we had a good proportion of our harvest done by the end of September and were just waiting on the last one or two thousand acres,” Stone said. “This year, the number of people below half (done) is unusual.”

He has done some mental calculations on the type of weather needed to get all of his crop in the bin.

“We need 14 to 16 big days,” estimates Stone, factoring in the shorter harvest days. “We’re pretty much running out of September now, so that means mid-October for us. Then if you add in some weather delays, we’re going to hoping for pretty much a nice Halloween, I think.”

Harvest progress is even further behind in northwest Saskatchewan, where most farmers are between 10 and 30 percent combined.

“Lots of pea crops out, lots of green canola yet,” says Bernie McClean, who farms at Glaslyn, about two hours northwest of Saskatoon. “Most of the canola has been swathed or being swathed as guys are trying to get ahead of that frost coming this weekend.”

Cooler weather is moving into the province and frost is a distinct possibility later this week. The first hard frost is going to be about two weeks later than normal. The additional time has allowed many canola crops to mature enough to avoid serious damage, but there will be issues with green seed in parts of the northern grainbelt.

“A hard frost would be not good,” said McClean, who is also a director with SaskCanola. “Even a lot of the canola that has been swathed, it needs a few days to get cured and dried down a bit. A hard frost this weekend is going to be a real problem with quality in canola.”

Environment Canada is predicting rain and colder temperature beginning on Thursday. Longer range weather models indicate snow is a possibility, particularly in the southwest.

Both Stone and McClean says yields have been good, but cereal quality is an issue. Sprouting is being reported in a number of areas, along with staining and bleaching.

Additional details on harvest progress will come on Thursday morning when the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture releases its weekly crop report.


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