Almost all of the crops reported in Saskatchewan's July 24 crop report saw crop conditions deteriorate since the last report on July 10. Given DTN's methodology for calculating the crop condition index (CCI):
% Excellent*3 + % Good*2 + % Fair *1 - % Poor *1- % Very Poor * 2 = CCI,
the only crops to show improvement over the past two weeks are oats, up 2 points to 160, canary seed, up 7 to 119, and chickpeas, up 64 to 56. Of the major crops, the CCI for spring wheat, durum, canola and lentils have fallen in each consecutive bi-weekly report issued since May 29.
The Crop Condition Index for spring wheat fell 19 points to 144, having fallen in each bi-weekly report since the initial May 29 report. This compares to 224 this time last year and the five-year average for this week of 193. Same week results in 2015 of a CCI of 149 resulted in a final average yield of 39.2 bushels per acre for the province, almost equal to the previous five-year average.
The CCI for durum fell sharply by 46 points from two weeks ago to 59 points, which compares to 230 this time last year and the five-year average of 183.8. This is the lowest rating for all major crops (note the mustard CCI is calculated at 46 points), with acres concentrated in southern regions which are facing the worst of the drought. In Saskatchewan Ag data going back to 2005, the durum CCI fell below 100 only once with a same week reading of 97 points in 2015, which resulted in a final yield of 34 bpa, 13.5% below the previous five-year average.
The canola CCI is calculated at 125, down 15 points in the past two weeks, which compares to 218 last year and the five-year average of 179.6. The closest same-week reading is seen in 2010 was a CCI of 139 points, which led to a 30.9 bpa yield, just slightly higher than the previous five-year average at the time.
The lentil CCI is calculated at 110 points, below the 151 reported for the same week in 2016 and the five-year late-July average of 162.2. Looking at historical Sask Ag data going back to 2005, the closest same week result was seen in 2015, when the CCI was calculated at 121, with final yield estimated at 1,392 lbs/ac, or 5% below the previous five-year average.
While the current wheat tour in the U.S. is pointing to an obvious east-west divide in terms of crop potential in the northern U.S., as well as noted across the Midwest, Saskatchewan and Alberta are experiencing varying potential from the north to the south of the province. All six regions are facing weather-related challenges, which range from excessive rainfall to not enough, which have weighed on crop conditions.
Perhaps the greatest variance lies between the Northwest Region, showing some of the best crop conditions, to the Southwest Region, showing the most challenging situation given a lack of rainfall. Since the first May 29 report, the spring wheat CCI in the Northwest Region has dropped 40 points, or 18%, to 182 points. The region's canola CCI has fallen by 59 points, or 26%, to 168.
In contrast, the Southwest Region data shows the spring wheat CCI falling by 135 points between the first report and the most recent report, or 70%, to 58 points. The region's canola CCI has fallen by 87 points, or 59%, to 61 points.
Of the 14 crops monitored by Saskatchewan Agriculture, the crops that have fared poorest according to Sask. Ag ratings are durum (59), mustard (46), chickpeas (56) and flax (63), with most recent ratings in brackets.
As is often the case, Saskatchewan Agriculture should release production estimates in the next few weeks, followed by Statistics Canada's first estimates set for release Aug. 31.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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