The Saskatchewan harvest is off to a quick start and it may be clear sailing for most of the next two weeks, according to DTN weather research.
As of Aug. 21, an estimated 14% of the crop was harvested, up from 7% the previous week and well-ahead of the five-year average reported by Saskatchewan Agriculture at 8%. Over the past five years, the fasted pace of harvest, as of this week, is shown for 2015 with 16% harvested. The slowest progress seen over this weekly period was in 2013, with 1% of the harvest complete, while 2% was taken off in 2014.
According to DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Joel Burgio, harvest weather across the Prairies remains favorable overall for the next seven days. Chances of a significant rain event to affect harvest progress is below normal during the next two weeks, which may support the current pace. DTN's Five-Day Highs Compared to Normal shows highs 4 to 6 degrees Celsius above normal over the eastern and southeastern areas of the province, while a band running from the southwest to the northeast of Saskatchewan is expected to see highs 7 to 9 degrees C above normal through Monday. This will help dry some of the wettest areas in the northwest of the province, which have faced record levels of precipitation this growing season.
Looking at the week-over-week estimates for completed harvest over the past five years, the most ever completed in a week was 25% of the province's acres, which took places in one week of 2013's harvest during the fall of 2014. For interest sake, let's look at the most activity in terms of harvested acres over consecutive weeks as reported over the past five years. In 2012, an average of 17% of the province's harvest acres per week was achieved over a four-week period. In 2013, an average of 19%/week was realized over three consecutive weeks, and in 2014, an average of 22.5% of the total acres were taken off over a two-week period.
The Northwest Region could face challenges in accomplishing a quick end to harvest. Over the past five weeks, the government has reported between 1.5 inches and 4 inches of precipitation each week falling in various communities. A quick look at cumulative statistics reported by Sask Ag shows one community in the northwest receiving 21.3 inches of rain since April 1, which is a record for the province and a stark contrast from one location in the south that has received less than .5 inches. An estimated 11% of the Northwest Region has surplus topsoil moisture, up from 9% reported the previous week.
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