Farmers in southeast Saskatchewan have noticed their crops being impacted by the recent drought across the Prairies.  

Kyran Foy who farms outside of Red Jacket and Fairlight spoke about how the dry weather conditions within his farming area.

“It’s been pretty dry. We haven’t had a significant rain since early June,” said Foy.

“I don’t even know what our total rainfall is in a lot of those areas, but some of them would be less than three inches for growing since we seeded. 

“It’s pretty dry, but it looks like the crops are hanging in not too bad for most part in a lot of our areas. It’s going to be tough to say how it will be come harvest time.”

Foy was asked if more rain was to come within the next week or two if it would help the crops.

“Not for a lot of crops, for a lot of crops it’s too late like most of the wheat, or any earlier crops,” he said.

“A bit of rain right away might help some of the later seeded canola crops, or anyone who has wheat. It just looks like we’re going to be in a heat wave here with the forecast showing no rain in sight.”

Based on how the quality of crops look, Foy said he thinks a lot of farmers will be applying for crop insurance. 

“I think harvest will be slightly below average. I think there will be a lot of crop insurance claims,” he said.

“Because numbers have been pretty good over the last few years and now we’re going to be below that, people will be making claims.”

Dry conditons north of Moosomin 

Within the Moosomin area, soil conditions have been more dry north of the RM of Moosomin compared to the south, said Trevor Green, farmer in the Moosomin area.

“Mainly because the southern part did get a few of the rains when that two inch rain came through the Town of Moosomin, it kind of stretched out, but if you get into the northern part closer to Welwyn, I think they’re in a tougher situation down there than we are.”

Green said farmers in some areas were able to get enough rain for their crops, while others are still in need of a good rainfall.

“Basically right now it’s who caught the rain and who missed them because it’s so sporadic this year,” said Green.

“The field looks good here, then you drive over two miles and it’s terrible. It all depends on who caught the rain and who missed them, for some people it’s one part of their field and the other is going to be the difference. It’s going to be very variable this year.

“I don’t think it’s going to be an outstanding crop, it’s just too dry and not enough timely rain.”

He was asked if he thinks farmers will have to rely on crop insurance after harvest this year.

“We have had some good crops in this area, people’s average yields were fairly decent and now if they’re going to be down there’s definitely going to be some crop insurance claims,” said Green.

“Anyone who had rainfall insurance on their corn is probably going to claim this year because corn definitely needed more rain than what we’ve had.

“Best case scenario I would say average to below average for crop yield this year.

“It’s going to be the quality that’s going to be tough too. When you get drier conditions the barley is generally lighter, the wheat is lighter, and with the grain commission change for the rules on test weights—APAS has actually lobbied the government to get those rules changed by August 1—is just another attack on the grain farmers that we don’t really need right now in a tougher year.”

Lack of moisture for crops in Moosomin area

Mark McCorriston, grain farmer from the Moosomin and Rocanville area, said crops have suffered because of the dry weather conditions.

“I would say they have been desperately dry,” said McCorriston. 

“Rocanville did get a lighter rain, but they were drier earlier on. The Moosomin and Rocanville area, I would say, is extremely dry.”

If it were to rain in the next week or two then some crops would still come out well, said McCorriston.

“I feel like the fate is sealed for the wheat crop and the barley crop, but if the canola can get rain in the next few days then that would be good,” he said.

“I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed that we are going to get rain in the next few days for a couple weeks now, and its just never happened. 

“It’s just super disappointing. It seems like the forecast shows we’ll get rain in two or three days then it just never happens.”

With a great start to the season, McCorriston said it is unfortunate to see the crops not flourish as well as he had hoped.

“I’m definitely concerned, I don’t think it’s going to be a bumper crop,” said McCorriston.

“Honestly it’s super disappointing because the potential for an awesome crop was there at the beginning of the year. 

“We had excellent germination, we had good moisture starting out this season, and the canola came on really good. We didn’t have bug pressures or other problems that we experienced in the past, but then we just had a lack of moisture. 

“I honestly can’t recall when we had a good rain, I would say it’s been near a couple of months ago. Then all season long we’ve never had a real good generalized rain, it was always spotty showers so one field might have got a good bit of rain, but the next one misses it.

“I just can’t remember the last time when the farm trucks were dirty because the roads were muddy. It just seems like it’s been forever since we’ve had a rain. 

“I think you can see it when you look at people’s lawns in town who don’t water their grass, they’ve all browned up.

“Unfortunately it’s not good, and it’s also starting to push the pastures where the livestock are to the maximum to the grass. It’s just browning off, it’s not growing anymore.

“The pastures are really starting to experience a drought stress as well. Some of the grasslands have grasshoppers on them now. It’s unfortunate. It’s been a disappointing summer.”

Although crops are not in the best condition, McCorriston said he does not think a lot of farmers in the Moosomin  area will have to make insurance claims at the end of the season.

“I would say it’s going to be border line. Crop insurance is there to keep you afloat,” he said. “The crops have to be pretty poor before you can get into a crop insurance claim position.

“In the Moosomin and surrounding area, we’re definitely better than other places in the province. Saskatchewan definitely has other areas that are experiencing it far worse.”

By Sierra D’Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 31, 2023 at 10:55

This item reprinted with permission from   Moosomin World-Spectator   Moosomin, Saskatchewant

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