(Resource News International) — Farmers in Saskatchewan, many of whom saw their fields covered in snow this past weekend, will need at least a week or more of dry weather to finish the remainder of this year’s harvest, according to a provincial crop specialist.
Provincially, about 25 per cent of the crops are left to be harvested, although some areas are farther behind than others. Canola, flax, oats and some spring wheat account for most of the unharvested acres.
“If we got a week or so of sunny, dry weather, we’d have a significant portion of this crop off,” said Grant McLean, a crop management specialist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture in Moose Jaw.
However, he said, it will be a struggle in some areas, especially in the northern and eastern parts of the province where the snowfall was heavier. “It will take a while for that to melt and dry off.”
Where the snowfall was lighter, McLean said, warmer weather this upcoming weekend should give producers the opportunity to make some progress.
“When we start getting snow in October, people get a little concerned,” said McLean, “but I’m confident we’ll be able to get the balance of this crop off.”
Quality may be downgraded in some cases, although that will depend on the crop and the localized conditions, he said. Cereals would be more susceptible to downgrading, while the oilseeds can withstand the wet conditions with a little more resiliency.
McLean added that it is still only mid-October, which means there is some time before the snow can be expected to stay for the winter.
“We’re waiting for some good days in a row with some sunshine and wind blowing,” said McLean, “and if we could get some temperatures in the double digits (°C) that would also certainly help.”
While flurries are in the forecast for many areas of Saskatchewan through Oct. 15, Environment Canada currently calls for sunny skies and warmer temperatures for most of the province starting Friday (Oct. 16) and lasting at least into early next week.