A week of summer weather in fall allowed Saskatchewan producers to close the gap on the five-year average as harvest continues.
Producers now have 68 per cent of the crop combined and 22 per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut. That compares to the five-year average of 72 per cent combined and 18 per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut.
As per usual, Saskatchewan Agriculture's Weekly Crop Report shows the southwestern region has made the most progress with 78 per cent of the crop combined.
After a week of unseasonably hot weather for harvest, the rain is now keeping farmers off the fields at exactly the wrong time of year.
Bill Aulie farms near Rouleau. He now has 75 per cent of the crop in the bin but he needs more time.
Some Saskatchewan families are spending a lot of time in together this time of year while working long hours.
“I’ll be doing this until I’m 60,” said 27-year-old Caleb Heenan, as he climbed the steps to the combine.
Caleb is just one young man bucking the Canadian trend. According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada, there are fewer and fewer young farm operators; that, coupled with the shrinking number of family farms, and Caleb and his family are the minority.
A 63-year-old man is dead after a farm accident Wednesday.
RCMP responded to the accident at a farm site in Plunkett.
Police said the man was unloading a swather from a trailer on private property when it rolled and trapped him underneath.
The man was pronounced dead on the scene. No charges will be laid.
Police are not releasing his name.
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The unseasonably hot weather is happening at the exact right time in the season for farmers.
“We’re able to have big days with this weather, so we don’t mind the record heat,” said Caleb Heenan Thursday morning on his farm near Grand Coulee. Of course, he can say that because the air conditioning in his combine works.
After a soggy start to the year and an early frost, Heenan says the year is shaping up pretty well - especially the canola. That crop can handle a little more moisture. The lentils? Not so much.
The warm fall weather Saskatchewan has seen is helping harvest catch up but the amount of crop in the bin still lags behind the five-year average.
Saskatchewan Agriculture's Weekly Crop Report shows 43 per cent of the crop is now in the bin with 37 per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut. That compares to the five-year average of 58 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.
The warm weather across the province this week has been a welcome transition into fall.
But Rick van Duyvendyk with Dutch Grower's Garden Centre in Saskatoon warns gardeners not to treat shrubs and trees like it is still summer.
"It's very important that if you want your trees to live, that you don't water too much in this heat," he said in an interview with News Talk. "You want the trees to start shutting down for winter time -- you don't want the plants to start pushing out new buds again."
A program that's the first of its kind in the province is gaining momentum at the University of Saskatchewan.
The Undergraduate Certificate in Proficiency in Sustainability is offered through the School of Environment, but any student taking a bachelor's degree can take it.
"This is the sort of training that we need people to have if we're going to start making better decisions in any sector," assistant professor Philip Loring said.
Saskatchewan farmers have been waiting for weeks to get a stretch of hot, dry weather and may now have enough time to catch up on the harvest.
Norm Hall is the President of the Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan and also farms in the Wynyard area.
“Where I am right now, it’s looking really good. Things are drying up pretty nice,” he said. “Just about everybody’s combining.”
The state of the harvest really depends on where you are in Saskatchewan. Hall noted that the southeast region is still very wet.
The sun and wind this week is a much needed change for farmers rushing to catch up on harvest.
Arlynn Kurtz farms near Stockholm, east of Regina and says the wet and cool weather has been a major setback for producers this year. This year’s harvest has been nothing like the records last year.
“Well it’s been grim in the area,” he told News Talk Radio while combining on Thursday afternoon.
He explains that a few days of dry weather aren’t always enough to dry out the fields enough to combine.