Saskatchewan Crops Developing Quickly due to Drought Stress

Jul 08, 2021

With very little recent rainfall and a long stretch of hot temperatures, crops are rapidly advancing across the province, said the Saskatchewan weekly crop report released on Thursday.

Across the province, 27% of fall cereals were in the dough maturity stage while 40% of spring cereals were in the heading stage. Sixty percent of canola and mustard were flowering and 38% of pulse crops were in the podding stage, as of July 5.

The continued lack of moisture combined with hot temperatures last week caused significant damage to many crops. Yield potential and crop quality will be impacted in many regions. Crops are stunted, thin, yellowing in colour and are prematurely drying down in many areas of the province, due to the heat stress and lack of moisture. Significant rainfall is needed soon to allow crops to properly fill and avoid irreparable crop damage, commented the government’s report.

Topsoil moisture levels across the province have continued to deteriorate due to the extended period of hot, dry and windy weather. Cropland topsoil moisture is currently rated as 0% surplus, 18% adequate, 51% short and 31% very short. Hay and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 0% surplus, 13% adequate, 44% short and 43% very short.

Rainfall last week ranged from nil to 21 mm in the Wynyard, Rosetown and Porcupine Plain areas. Much of the province did not receive any rainfall, or received very small amounts that will not make a difference to topsoil moisture levels.

Despite the lack of growth on hay land, livestock producers continue with haying operations. Hay quality is currently rated as just 6% excellent, 50% good, 32% fair and 12% poor. Estimated yields so far are considerably lower than anticipated, with many producers indicating a second cut will not happen this year.

Crop damage this past week is attributed to the extremely dry soil conditions, hot temperatures, strong winds and feeding from gophers and grasshoppers. Some producers have begun to spray for grasshoppers in pulse crops and hay stands.

Farmers are busy applying fungicides if warranted, moving cattle to market, scouting for pests, fixing equipment and hoping for rain.

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