Thursday's Saskatchewan Agriculture crop report estimates that 40% of the crop is in the bin, while another 33% is either swathed or ready to straight-cut as of September 7, with last weekend's rains slowing progress. This is a rapid pace, well-ahead of the 14% taken off this time last year at this time, as well as the five-year average of 25% complete. As seen on the attached graphic, this pace was last seen in 2012 while 2011 resulted in the next closest pace.
Crop yield estimates were tweaked in both directions since the province's last yield estimates released as of Aug. 17, with the largest crops such as hard red spring wheat, canola and durum showing an increase in expected yields as the harvest progresses. As well, whether government yield estimates were increased or decreased, almost all crops are showing higher potential than seen in Statistics Canada's July estimates, which is widely expected due to late-summer rains which increased the potential for most crops.
The province's hard red spring wheat yield estimate was boosted 1 bushel per acre to 35 bushels per acre, down 4.3 bpa from last year and 8.9% below the five-year average. Comparisons to Statistics Canada are not possible in this case as this data will be available in December for the first time.
Perhaps one of the largest jumps in expected yield was seen in the province's durum crop. Saskatchewan Agriculture boosted their expected durum yield from 25 bpa to 30 bpa as the crop responded to late rains. This yield is 25% below last year and 23.6% below the five-year average yield of 39.3 bpa. Stats Can reported an estimated yield of 27.9 bpa, which suggests that future revisions should be expected.
The province's agriculture department also increased the canola crop's yield potential since Aug. 17 by 1 bpa to 31 bpa, just 2 bpa below last year and only 1 bpa below the five-year average of 32.02 bpa. Once again, the provincial yield estimate is 2.1 bpa above Statistics Canada's July estimate of 27.9 bpa, which suggests the possibility of upward revisions to come.
As suggested, not all crops saw improvements in yield estimates. Barley yields were lowered 1 bpa since the Aug. 17 report to 56 bpa, although this yield remains above 2014 as well as the five-year average. The province's average oat yield was reduced 3 bpa to 81 bpa, down 7.7% from last year and equal to the five-year average.
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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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