Saskatchewan's harvest is reported to be on the home stretch, with an estimated 89% of the crop in the bin that compares to the 80% complete as of this week in the fall of 2016, while the five-year average is calculated at 82%, given Saskatchewan Agriculture estimates. While the southern regions will complete harvest well-ahead of average, the two northern regions continue to lag their respective average pace.
The Northeast Region is estimated to be 78% complete, as of Oct. 2, which compares to the five-year average of 83.2%. The Northwest Region is estimated to be 69% complete, behind the five-year average of 84.6%. Across the province, an estimated 8% of the crop is swathed or ready to straight cut, with the largest concentrations found in spring wheat, barley, oats and canola in the Northwest Region of the province, which could face light precipitation in the first three days of the seven-day window as seen on the NOAA charts.
Of the 15 crops monitored by Saskatchewan Agriculture, the average provincial yield estimate was increased for 12 crops, decreased for two crops and left unchanged for one since the last provincial yield estimates were released as of Aug. 28. Provincial yield estimates remain optimistic relative to the recent Statistics Canada Model-Based yield estimates released, which could set the stage for upward revisions in Statistics Canada's final production estimates released in December. Provincial yield estimates, based on a boots-on-the-ground approach, would suggest higher potential for the province's wheat crop, durum crop and pea and lentil crop than current Statistics Canada estimates suggest.
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Yield estimates for two crops stands out. Saskatchewan Agriculture increased their yield estimate for oats by 10 bushels per acre this month to 86 bpa, which still remains well-below the Statistics Canada estimate of 92.9 bpa for the province. The provincial government's estimate for canola is 34 bpa, up 3 bpa since August and equal to the current Statistics Canada estimate of 34.1 bpa. Given that many people continue to feel the canola crop is bigger than currently estimated, while Statistics Canada has a history of increasing the size of the crop over time, Saskatchewan's field data does not seem to support such a move.
Government estimates also point to this being a much easier crop to market, given above-average quality. An estimated 97% of the spring wheat is expected to fall within the top two grades. This is consistent with most recent findings from the Canadian Grain Commission's Harvest of Canada Western Red Spring Wheat 2017 report, which points to 97.8% of the 1,282 samples received from Saskatchewan grading either a No. 1 CWRS (93.4%) or No. 2 CWRS (4.4%), with a mean protein of 12.76% for Saskatchewan's No. 1 CWRS as compared to the prairie average for all grades at 13.05%.
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