According to the weekly crop report for July 4th - 10th, most crops across the province are developing normally. 56% of fall cereals, 64% of spring wheat, 62% of oil seeds and 75% of pulse crops are at their normal stage of development.
24% of the hay crop is cut and another 39% is baled or put into silage. Hay quality is rated as 17% excellent, 59% good, 22% fair and 2% poor. Pasture growth has been limited in the past week.
Although a few areas did received moisture, most of the province remains dry. Rainfall will be needed to help crops develop and replenish topsoil.
Cropland topsoil moisture has been rated as 2% surplus, 41% adequate, 46% short and 11% very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 3% surplus, 32% adequate, 49% short and 16% very short.
Temperatures and the lack of moisture continue to cause crop damage. Many Southern and Central areas have seen less than 100mm of rain since April 1st. Due to the stress of the heat, crops in these areas are short, thin and heading out or flowering earlier than normal. Other sources of damage include hail, localized flooding, wind and insects.
In the coming weeks, producers will continue haying, scouting for diseases and insects, applying fungicides and hauling grain.
West Central Region Progress
The West Central Region is ahead of the provincial average with 28% of hay crop cut and 44% baled or put into silage.
Shannon Friesen, Crop Specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture, compared this years progress to 2016, "We are about a week behind where we were at last year overall. Of course, last year things were fairly optimal, lots of rain and lots of moisture in the soil. Crop conditions are in worse shape as well due to lack of moisture and intense heat."
Hay quality is rated as 22% excellent, 44% good, 30% fair and 4% poor. Hay yields are lower than normal, in a few cases by at least 50%.
Friesen says there could be a second chance at haying if the weather improves, "We've heard from producers that hay yields are less than normal, from a quarter to even half of what they would typically expect. Of course, that is still the first cut of hay so if we get some moisture over the next couple of weeks there may be a chance for a second cut."
Producers have been looking for alternatives from hay crop due to the lower yields. Friesen said producers could be using crops as feed this year, "We've already heard that producers have been thinking about using some of their crops as livestock feed. In those cases, we do encourage they talk with crop insurance to see what their options are and a livestock specialist or nutritionist that can help them with proper rations and feeding."
The region continues to have hot and dry weather. A few areas received a small amount of rain. The Dinsmore area had the most rainfall this past week with 35mm.
Topsoil moisture conditions have suffered due to the weather. Cropland moisture is rated as 1% surplus, 53% adequate, 40% short and 6% very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated at 47% adequate, 40% short and 13% very short.
Overall, crops are still at their normal stages of development and in fair to excellent conditions. Damage can be attributed to the heat, as well as hail, wind and insects.
Friesen notes that the heat could result in lower yields for crops, "If we don't get rain, thing may continue. The heat have actually helped advance the crops. Many areas where things are dry things are prematurely advancing. Ideally, crops tend to flower for a long period of time so we can get more pods and more yield. In some cases with the heat, flowering windows have been shortened, crops are thin and stunted and prematurely advancing."
Producers will be busy haying, applying fungicides and scouting for insects and diseases in the coming weeks.