Crops in Saskatchewan ‘extremely stressed’ due to heat, lack of moisture

Crops in Saskatchewan are “extremely stressed” due to a lack of moisture and hot conditions, Saskatchewan Agriculture reported Thursday.

Saskatchewan Ag said crops continue to advance quickly due to the heat and dry conditions, although there was a slight break from the heat due to clouds and wildfire smoke.

Any rain received now will help, but not improve yields, Sask Ag said in Thursday’s crop report.

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There were reports of rainfall in parts of the province in the past week, with the most — 75 millimetres — reported in the Redvers region.

The Kisbey and Stoughton areas received 34 millimetres of rain and the Kindersley area received two millimetres.

The lack of rain continues to impact soil conditions, with over half the land now very short on moisture.

Cropland topsoil moisture is rated eight per cent adequate, 39 per cent short and 53 per cent very short.

Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture are rated six per cent adequate, 31 per cent short and 63 per cent very short.

Hay yields are reported to be well below normal and Sask Ag said most producers are unsure if there will be a second cut.

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Estimated average dryland hay yields are 0.70 tons per acre for alfalfa and alfalfa/brome grass, 0.60 tons per acre for other tame hay and wild hay and one ton per acre for greenfeed.

Estimated average irrigated hay yields are 1.79 tons per acre for alfalfa, 1.67 tons per acre for alfalfa/bromegrass and 1.23 tons per acre for greenfeed.

Hay quality is currently rated eight per cent excellent, 51 per cent good, 32 per cent fair and nine per cent poor.

Low hay yields and quality are causing concerns for producers that there may not be enough feed available for cattle into the winter.

Many cereal crops that have headed out are not developing kernels and some producers have elected to cut these crops as greenfeed, Sask Ag reported.

It is encouraging producers to consider alternate uses for crops that will not develop due to a significant shortage of livestock feed.

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The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation said it 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.

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 from $50,000 to $150,000.

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.

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