Alberta farmers try to wrap up ‘very unusual year’

CNS Canada — As winter approaches, producers in Alberta are still in the fields trying to wrap up the last bit of the 2018 harvest.

According to the final crop report issued by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, about six per cent of all crops were still in the field at the end of October.

The weather wrought havoc on the province’s crops during September and October with conditions that were often cold, wet and snowy.

Lynn Jacobson, who farms near Enchant, Alta. and is president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture, said the harvest in southern Alberta has virtually been completed. But producers in other parts of the province have yet to get everything into the bin.

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“There are certain areas that still have a little bit that I know from our board members. There’s some flax out there. There’s some canola,” he said.

That canola had been left on the fields because it still had green in it. With the cold weather the green was “locked in” when the canola froze.

“They were trying to cure it and got caught,” Jacobson said, adding the canola in the province’s northwest was the hardest hit. “Up in the Mayerthorpe area… it was so wet that people were having trouble getting on their fields.”

The province’s crop report noted that region had 19 per cent of canola laying in swaths and one per cent still standing at the end of October.

As for wheat, Jacobson said a lot of it is ending up as feed, other than in a few areas that did not receive as much precipitation this fall.

“Some people surprisingly came off with a not too bad of a grade, while others are down to the feed grade,” he said.

Jacobson was pessimistic about everything coming off before winter sets in and believes producers will have to wait until spring to finish harvesting. Producers will also be looking to crop insurance “to help them weather some of this storm.”

A spokesperson with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry declined to comment about the harvesting in November, citing it does not keep tabs on any remaining harvest following the final crop report.

— Glen Hallick writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Glacier FarmMedia company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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Glacier FarmMedia, a division of Glacier Media, is Canada's largest publisher of agricultural news in print and online.

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