A couple of bumps in the road for harvest have been encountered across the Prairies during the recent couple of weeks, but not enough to slow what is turning out to be an excellent crop yield for many areas, especially across the West. Recent rains have slowed harvest the greatest amount across eastern areas, while showers have been more hit-or-miss for Alberta and Saskatchewan where harvest progress has made better gains.
September's higher-than-normal temperatures and drier-than-normal conditions have been a great help in allowing the late filling and maturing crops to finish maturing and farmers to make strong harvest progress. Killing frosts and freezes came later than normal for nearly all areas and allowed crops to reach maturity before any significant damage could occur. Good soil moisture levels have also played a role in allowing crops to continue to finish maturing.
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Harvest progress remains ahead of schedule for most of Alberta and Saskatchewan, while Manitoba has encountered more significant delays rainfall during the past week. Season-ending freezes have yet to occur for some of the far southeast portions of the Prairies, but colder weather now moving into all of the Prairies should produce freezes everywhere during the next few nights.
Windy weather is expected to be limited during the next several days, which should keep swathed crops from blowing around significantly. Farmers across the eastern Prairies should dodge a bullet during the next 48 hours as a major winter storm and heavy snow across the north-central Rockies and western Dakotas of the U.S. misses the southeastern Prairies.
Temperatures during the upcoming week should be a little closer to normal for this time of year than what we have seen during much of September. Even so, we may still see readings increase a bit early next week, which is good news for remaining harvest activities. We do see more and more signs that colder weather and possibly a threat of some snow and rain may become overspread on the Prairies late next week. Hopefully by then the majority of the high yield and good quality harvest is close to completion.
Some of the recent rains across the eastern Prairies will benefit growth and development of winter wheat and rye, but drier conditions for the West are affecting seeding and crop conditions.
Doug Webster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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