The Saskatchewan government estimates the provincial harvest at 47% complete as of Sept. 30, which compares to the 73% completed as of the same week last crop year and the five-year average of 78%. This data is seen in the furthest right bars on the attached chart. Over the past seven weeks, government estimates show progress from one week to the next ranging from 1% of estimated acres to a high of 16% of estimated acres, while averaging 6.6% of the estimated acres each week over the past seven weeks.
Readily accessible government reports going back to the 2004-05 crop year show the current year as the second time over this period where progress was estimated below the 50% mark as of this week. On Sept. 27, 2010, an estimated 29% of the total crop was off, which compared to the five-year average at the time of 75% complete. A different set of circumstances faced producers in October, where warm and sunny weather over the following three weeks saw harvest advance to the point that 97% of the acres were off, while one week later, or the Oct. 25 report, an estimated 99% of the crop was reported as harvested.
The attached chart shows the estimated 2019 progress (blue bars) compared to 2018 (brown bars) as well as the five-year average (2014-2018, grey bars) for selected crops. Progress for cereals such as spring wheat, durum and oats are seen on either side of the 50% mark.
Progress on the canola crop lags with just 24% complete as of Sept. 30, compared to 52% in 2018 and an estimated 70.6% completed on average over the past five years. This makes canola the single largest of all crops yet to be harvested, with roughly 8.6 million acres yet to go, based on Statistics Canada's 11.377 million harvested acre estimate for 2019. Producers may be showing increased patience in trying to take canola off dry for ease of storage, and may also be focusing on the cereals that face greater chances of downgrading.
An estimated 35% of the spring wheat acres and 62% of the canola are either swathed or ready to straight combine, which could lead to quick progress with favorable weather.
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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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