Harvest on the horizon for Saskatchewan farmers

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Saskatchewan has been hit with very sporadic weather throughout the week, causing a mix of emotions for farmers.

According to the week’s crop report, some regions have had hot dry days, while others experienced cool rainy days that have delayed many crops.

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As Saskatchewan approaches the midway point of August, most of the province has not yet started harvesting. Only one per cent of producers in the province have started harvesting.

The province said this is slightly behind the five-year average (2017-2021) of two per cent. At this time in 2021, the provincial harvest progress was seven per cent, illustrating just how different the growing conditions have been in the province between this year and last.

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As harvest begins, SGI is also warning drivers to watch for farm machinery on the highway and grid roads.

SGI said each year, there are a number of collisions between motor vehicles and farm equipment, and it’s more likely to result in an injury.

Over the last five years, 86 collisions involving farm equipment on Saskatchewan roads have been reported, which has resulted in 41 injuries and seven deaths.

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To help prevent accidents heading into harvest, SGI has a number of tips including:

  • Keeping your attention on the road at all times
  • Farm machinery is slow moving, so you’ll come up on it quickly when driving at highway speeds.
  • You’re even more likely to see farm machinery on grid roads, which are narrower and offer drivers less space to pass.
  • Do not pass unless you’re sure that it’s safe to do so. Take it easy, slow down and enjoy the scenic country views if you can’t safely get around the equipment until it leaves the road.
  • It’s important to be patient and remember that the person driving or towing that farm equipment is likely moving it a short distance from one field to another.
  • Following too closely may put you in the farmer’s blind spot. Hang back a bit.
  • The machinery may not have turn signals. Drivers preparing to pass farm equipment should make sure that the farmer isn’t about to turn left into a field. Look down the road and anticipate where the farmer may be going.
  • When you do pass, give yourself plenty of space, because farm equipment can be deceptively long and wide.

In terms of soil conditions, the lack of rain is delaying many crops.

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Most of the southern half of the province did not get much rain over the past week, with most rainfall reports being between trace amounts and 10 mm; the Weyburn area, however, received 25 mm.

Further north, the Rosthern and Hague areas received 35 mm, while in the west, Macklin area producers received up to 61 mm over the course of an evening.

Prince Albert also received some localized and very heavy rainfall, with some producers reporting 71 mm over two days.

The declining trend in topsoil moisture continues as rains overall have been quite minor and infrequent during the past few weeks. Cropland topsoil moisture is currently rated as three per cent surplus, 58 per cent adequate, 24 per cent short and 15 per cent very short.

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