Western Canadian harvest progress stuck in the snow


Timing is everything ,and the snow that has fallen again this week on parts of Western Canada could not have come at a worse time. Many growers woke up Sunday and Monday to a fresh blanket of one inch to a foot of snow, depending on where you farm. Whether it’s the loss of grade, revenue, or the overall mental toll it’s taking on growers — harvest 2018 is majorly impacting farmers and their income statements.

As of October 2, only 38 per cent of the main crops in Alberta were complete, according to Alberta Agriculture. That’s massively behind schedule when compared to the five year average of 80 per cent complete by this time of year.

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In Saskatchewan, the harvest story is better with 78 per cent of harvest completed as of October 1. However, there are pockets that aren’t in good shape as frustration is truly starting to set in. A farmer that did not want to be identified from the Yorkton, Sask., area stated, “I have not turned a wheel for seven weeks.”

It’s a combination of poor weather, lack of drying capacity and, soon, a shortage of aeration bin space — farmers are doing their best to balance the logistics of completing a wet, cold harvest.

The longer this year’s harvest drags on, the more likely we’ll see increasing pressure on various levels of governments to provide economic relief to farmers struggling with this year’s crop.

It should also not be lost on anyone that the stress of this harvest is immense. A farmer from Red Deer, Alta., (that chose to stay anonymous) told RealAg, “It’s important for people to keep their mental health in mind, as they push through this crazy fall where many variables are out of their control.”

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Categories: Crop Production / Weather

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