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Rain hinders Man. harvest, Sask. chugs ahead

Saskatchewan farmers have again steamed ahead of their five-year average pace for harvesting, while harvests in central and eastern Manitoba ground — or more accurately, squished — to a halt.

Widespread rains stopped harvest for much of last week in Manitoba’s south-central and southeastern regions and in its already waterlogged Interlake region between Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, the provincial ag department said in its weekly crop report on Monday.

Cereal and canola harvests continued in the province’s southwest, with cereals 80 per cent complete and canola 70 per cent complete south of the Trans-Canada Highway — and 65 and 50 per cent complete, respectively, north of Highway 1.

Wheat harvests are nearly complete in the province’s farming northwest and canola crops are 80 to 85 per cent complete — except in the Ste. Rose du Lac area, where soils remain saturated.

Some farmers were able to resume harvests later last week in the south-central and Interlake regions. The western side of the south-central area got just 10 to 30 mm of rain, while the east side, west of the Red River, saw amounts ranging from 60 to 110 mm.

Most of the Interlake got some rain last week with accumulations from 20 to 36 mm in its south and anywhere from zero to 20 mm in the north. Frost down to -2°C occurred in the Ashern area Saturday.

In the province’s southeast, east of the Red River, “virtually no progress” was reported on harvests, haying or fieldwork. Rainfall ranged from 50 to 80 mm with localized sudden downpours, and soil conditions remain “full.”

Sask. presses ahead

Saskatchewan farmers, meanwhile, have harvested 82 per cent of the 2008 crop, up from 67 per cent last week and the five-year average of 71 per cent.

The province’s northeast, where seeding and harvests have proven difficult in recent wet years, is now furthest ahead with 89 per cent of its crop off, while in the northwest, farmers are furthest behind with 67 per cent of the crop off.

Crops that took hail damage remain slow to ripen, putting them behind schedule for harvest, the provincial ag ministry said in its weekly crop report Monday. Wind, rain, and frost caused the majority of Saskatchewan’s crop damage, and reporters also reported concerns with sprouting and bleaching of crops and losses to migratory waterfowl and wild game.

Harvest progress for major crops shows spring wheat and durum at 83 per cent complete, canola at 79 per cent, and lentils and peas at 99 per cent. While 82 per cent of Saskatchewan’s pastures have adequate water for livestock, some reporters in the south indicated sloughs and dugouts are “low or empty.”

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