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Sask. harvest continues ahead of average

Saskatchewan’s 2007 harvest remains ahead of the province’s five-year average despite weather conditions that have further delayed combining for farmers in northern growing regions.

Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food said today in its crop report for the week of Sept. 9 that 55 per cent of the 2007 crop has been harvested, compared to the 2002-06 average of 44 per cent combined and 22 per cent either swathed or ready to straight-combine.

Combining progress is furthest advanced in the southwest, where 92 per cent of the crop has been combined, followed by the southeast at 70 per cent. Meanwhile, northern areas received the most rainfall during the week, further delaying both crop maturity and harvest. Combining is least advanced in the northwest, where 22 per cent of the crop has been harvested.

Crop reporters told SAF that over 80 per cent of the 2007 spring wheat crop will place in the top two grades, compared to the 10-year average of 70 per cent. Downgrading came from wheat midge and weathering. Yield estimates continue to indicate slightly below-average production for 2007. The main sources of crop damage during the past week were wind and drought, the department wrote.

Seeding of fall crops is underway, the department noted, with earlier-seeded crops already emerging. Lack of moisture is the biggest factor limiting fall seeding. Field work is also being hampered by dry soil conditions, particularly in the province’s south.

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