Harvest progresses in Saskatchewan despite rain

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WATCH: The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan is calling on the members of the Western Grain Elevator Association to provide relief to farmers unable to fulfil grain contracts due to drought conditions. – Sep 2, 2021

Rain in the past week didn’t dampen the harvest in Saskatchewan.

However, Saskatchewan Agriculture said the precipitation caused downgrading of many crops still in the field.

Sask Ag reported Thursday that 36 per cent of the crop is in the bin, up from 29 per cent a week ago.

The five-year average for this time of year is 22 per cent.

Read more: Cost of drought having significant impact on Saskatchewan’s deficit

Another 30 per cent of the crop is swathed or ready to straight-cut.

Harvesting of winter wheat is essentially complete, with 99 per cent combined.

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Additionally, 83 per cent of fall rye, 85 per cent of lentils, 84 per cent of field peas, 57 per cent of mustard, 40 per cent of durum, 11 per cent of chickpeas, 36 per cent of spring wheat and 11 per cent of canola is combined.

The crop report said an additional 19 per cent of canola and 16 per cent of mustard is swathed or ready to straight-cut.

Yields are reported to be far lower than average in many parts of the province and Sask Ag said there are reports some fields have yielded almost nothing.

The rain in the past week is not helping crops still standing in the field.

Sask Ag said there are reports of bleaching, staining, sprouting, low kernel weights and fungal growth.

Read more: Saskatchewan farmers look to the future after months of drought

The precipitation and cooler weather did help to improve soil moisture conditions in many parts of the province.

Cropland topsoil moisture is currently rated one per cent surplus, 40 per cent adequate, 34 per cent short and 25 per cent very short.

Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated 28 per cent adequate, 43 per cent short and 29 per cent very short.

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Sask Ag said the recent rains have helped to green up pastures and might allow livestock producers to continue pasture grazing.

This would allow producers to save their winter feedstocks, according to the report.

Most crop damage in the past week was due to heavy rain, hail, strong winds, insects and the lasting effects of the drought.

Relief measures

A number of relief measures have been announced for producers affected by the drought.

The 2021 Canada-Saskatchewan Drought Response Initiative will provide a per-head payment to livestock producers to help maintain female breeding stock.

The initial payment will provide producers $100 per breeding female equivalent in inventory as of Aug. 1, 2021.

Secondary payments of up to $100 per breeding female in inventory as of Dec. 31, 2021, will be made to producers who have incurred additional costs to retain the animals.

Read more: Saskatchewan details aid for livestock producers affected by drought

The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. is doubling the low yield appraisal threshold values for its customers who salvage their cereal or pulse crops as feed, without negatively impacting future individual coverage.

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SCIC said customers should contact their local office first to discuss options before they graze, bale or silage any damaged crops.

The Saskatchewan government said it is providing relief to livestock producers by temporarily increasing the maximum funding from the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure program to $150,000 from $50,000.

The program is for dugouts, wells and pipelines for agriculture use, with the first $50,000 based on a 50-50 cost share and the remaining $100,000 on a 70-30 government-producer cost share.

More information on the program is available by contacting the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.

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 enrolled in AgriStability to access a portion of their benefit early, to help support losses and cover costs.

Farmers stress line

Sask Ag said the Farmers Stress Line is available 24 hours a day for any needed support at 1-800-677-4442.

The service is run by Mobile Crisis Services Regina and all calls are confidential.

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