Dry days put har­vest ahead of sched­ule, but farm­ers hop­ing for rain

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY+REGION - ASH­LEY ROBIN­SON arobin­son@post­media.com twit­ter.com/ash­leymr1993

Kurt Fiechter may be done this year’s har­vest but he’s still stuck wait­ing for rain, just as he has been do­ing all sum­mer.

“It’s good, al­ways feels good to be done. It’s kind of dis­ap­point­ing in the yields. But re­ally with the rain we had, it wasn’t un­ex­pected,” he said.

The grain farmer from the Cey­lon area re­ceived very lit­tle rain this year on his farm, which led to low yields and sparse crops. Some, like canola and du­rum, did bet­ter than ex­pected.

Fiechter started com­bin­ing a month ago, fin­ish­ing last Friday. In years past he wouldn’t usu­ally start har­vest­ing un­til the start of Septem­ber, and not fin­ish un­til the end of Septem­ber or start of Oc­to­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­vin­cial crop re­port re­leased Thurs­day, 65 per cent of the pro­vin­cial crop is har­vested, which is well ahead of the five-year av­er­age of 40 per cent.

“Things have been go­ing fairly well. Most of that, of course, is due to that very long stretch of warm and dry weather,” said Shan­non Friesen, act­ing crop man­age­ment spe­cial­ist with the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture in Moose Jaw.

Har­vest is most ad­vanced in the south­west­ern re­gion, where 86 per cent of the crop is now com­bined. The south­east­ern re­gion has 76 per cent com­bined, the west cen­tral re­gion 66 per cent and the east cen­tral re­gion 57 per cent. The north­east­ern re­gion has 37 per cent com­bined, while the north­west­ern re­gion has 35 per cent com­bined.

The south­ern por­tion of the prov­ince was hard­est-hit this sum­mer, re­ceiv­ing hardly any rain. Farther north there were re­ports of rain through­out the sum­mer and lo­cal­ized flood­ing, but the last month has been pretty dry through­out the whole prov­ince.

“Rain re­ally hasn’t hap­pened ... (farther north) ei­ther over the last month or two. So things are a bit bet­ter in terms of soil mois­ture, but cer­tainly they could also use a good rain head­ing into win­ter,” Friesen said.

Head­ing into the au­tumn, rain is needed to re­plen­ish the soil, both for seed­ing next spring and for fall seed­ing of win­ter crops.

Fiechter him­self doesn’t usu­ally seed win­ter crops, but the lack of rain is hold­ing him back from do­ing fall spray­ing.

“Rain would have been per­fect. Then a guy would have just went and sprayed, did some fall spray­ing with the weeds com­ing. And now there’s re­ally a lot of in­de­ci­sion be­cause there’s re­ally not much com­ing,” he said.

As well, Fiechter said if it doesn’t rain he may have to re­think his spring seed­ing plans.

“I guess time will tell if a guy is even able to seed. Be­cause we’re des­per­ately dry; it’s just bone-dry here,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the crop re­port, lack of mois­ture con­tin­ued to cause crop dam­age this week, while strong winds blew swaths around and shelled-out stand­ing crops. There have been many re­ports of com­bine and grass fires due to the dry con­di­tions.

I guess time will tell if a guy is even able to seed. Be­cause we’re des­per­ately dry; it’s just bone-dry here.

KURT FIECHTER

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