This year’s mid August crop outlook in Humboldt and the surrounding area is markedly different from this time last year. This year’s crops have benefitted from more traditional rainfall patterns. Except for isolated areas in the region that received hail or torrential downpours, crops have weathered the summer season well and are looking robust heading into the harvest season. 

Justin Tremel farms near Peterson. He says the situation is night and day compared to 2021.

“Last year we had very minimal rainfall and a very poor crop. This year, we’ve probably had 12-13 inches of rain total. Things are looking good - they’re a little bit later, but I’m not sad about that because things are looking so much better.”

Tremel has oats, barely, wheat and canola at various stages of progress. He says the barley is around 10 days out from swathing or straight combining. The area did receive heavy local downbursts of rain with wind in July, so staging and ripening may be a bit tricky with some lodging, he says. Later seeding for canola because of some initial wet weather means some crops are just exiting the blooming stage and will need a bit more time to develop. That makes things a bit more risky in the event of an early frost. 

Tremel is reluctant to make any outside predictions, but he’s hoping for an above average yield. 

“I guess that’s to be determined,” he laughs. “It’s still a long way to the bin even only a couple weeks away.”

Like the sown crops, this year’s hay crop fared much better as well thanks to the more generous rainfall. 

“The hay crop was good this year. We do mostly greenfeed, but to put it in perspective, I cut a piece last year that was fifty acres, and I got nine bales. On that same piece this year, I got almost 50, so a big difference.”

That’s good news for local cattle producers who were hard pressed to find feed with such a widespread hay crop impact last year. 

The story is similar a bit east with Neil Gossner who farms in the St. Gertrude area between Muenster and LeRoy. Gossner notes the August stretch of hot and dry weather has been speeding things along, and he’s seeing harvest right around the corner. Gossner reports around eight inches of rain cumulatively over the growing season, again a significant uptick over last season. Flax, wheat, peas, barley and canola are in the rotation this year for Gossner. 

“I would say the canola is a little late, but no need to panic. There’s very little to complain about in retrospect to last year. I think we’re in fairly good shape.” 

When it comes to cereal grains, Gossner is expecting to see average to slightly above average yields given the current situation, again hoping any early frosts are staved off. Barley swathing is a week to a week and a half away for Gossner and harvesting about two weeks off. The heavier rain and wind events skirted Gossner’s fields for the most part, so there’s little evidence of lodging in his area. As was the case with Tremel, hay land around St. Gertrude has been much more productive this season. 

Gossner’s pulse crops went in a bit late, but aside from the appearance of aphids in the last few days, those crops look to be in good shape as well. All that’s needed now is some heat and sun to finish the job..

“I’d say the rains wouldn’t benefit us much; I think if we ended up missing some rains, that would be fine as well.”

While the southwest is in the process of harvesting, another 10 days to two weeks seems to be the threshold for crops in east central parts of the province. Barring any challenges, all systems are go for a productive fall season.