Saskatchewan Agriculture's latest crop report as of August 3 shows an early start to harvest, with winter wheat, fall rye and some pulse crop harvest activity totaling less than 1% of the total provincial crop. Looking over reports from the past five years, it would seem that the province has gotten off to a slightly quicker start than average, although the next few weeks will make this clearer.
The week ending Aug. 3 brought more rain to the province with overall topsoil moisture conditions improving for the fifth consecutive week after an extremely dry spring in western regions, with the average topsoil moisture rating at 73% adequate to surplus and 27% short to very short. This compares to the poorest weekly rating reported for the week ending June 29 at 32% adequate and 68% short to very short.
Last week's report released what will likely be the final crop condition data for the province. For comparison purposes, Saskatchewan Agriculture's crop condition data (%Excellent, %Good, %Poor and %Very Poor) was converted into a Crop Condition Index format utilized by DTN, where a weighting of 3 is given to the Excellent category, a weighting of 2 to the Good category, a weighting of 1 to the Fair category, a weighting of -1 to the Poor category and a weighting of -2 to the Very Poor category. The formula becomes:
Where CI is the Condition Index
The potential range for ratings ranges from -200 to 300, while DTN views the normal range from 0 to 180.
While not shown on this graphic, on average across the province, crops have responded favorably to the July moisture. Between the June 29 data and the July 27 data, the provincial durum crop condition index gained 52 points to an index of 97, canola advanced 46 points to 140 and the spring wheat crop gained 33 points to 149 by the end of July, the largest increases across the ten crops selected.
The attached chart shows the most recent ratings (blue bars) as compared to the similar period in 2014 (red bars) and the five-year average (green bars). This rating is for data presented for the last week of July which tends to be the last rating released for the crop year.
As seen in the data provided on the graphic, the crop condition index calculated for oats (97.3%), barley (82.5%) and canola (81.8%) are the closest of the selected crops to their respective five-year averages as calculated at the end of July, with the 2015 index as a percentage of the five-year average shown in brackets. The spring wheat crop is next, with the current rating at 78.2% of the five-year average.
Crops which have perhaps responded poorly to the late moisture given this analysis is the durum crop along with peas and lentils. Despite the recovery in July, the latest crop condition index for durum of 97 is 50.7% of the five-year average for the end of July. At 118 points, the crop condition index for dry peas is 60.3% of the five-year average, while the current rating of 121 points for lentils is 67.9% of the five-year average.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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