Farm­ers strug­gle to take off crop

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa mailphoto by Shari Chris­tensen

The chilly wet weather has put a stall to what was shap­ing up as a good year for farm crops.

A wet sum­mer made for strong yields for farm­ers, but a wet fall has made it tough to get the crop off. Ac­cord­ing to the Al­berta Agri­cul­ture and Forestry har­vest progress re­port for Oc­to­ber 11, prov­ince-wide, about 72 per cent of crops have been har­vested, com­pared to about 87 per cent this time last year. The Cen­tral re­gion is see­ing only about 63 per cent of the crop in.

Mary Marsh­man of the Rock­y­ford area says they are about half com­plete.

“I don’t think I have ever seen so many un­fin­ished acres in so wide an area,” said Marsh­man.

She adds that Rock­y­ford re­ceived a lot of hail this year and much of what is left is the hailed out crop.

“One prob­lem is, it's late. That crop came back from the hail, but here we are,” she said. So far, she said the crop that they were able to har­vest has good qual­ity.

“The yields are fan­tas­tic, which is an­other rea­son it is not dry,” she said.

She is pos­i­tive about her Canola be­cause they straight cut which means it will com­bine quicker. It also stands up bet­ter to cool weather.

“We’re hope­ful we are go­ing to get our Canola done, but I am not so sure about our wheat, but mir­a­cles hap­pen ev­ery day,” she said.

Tony Pliva who farms south of Drumheller, says they are about 70 per cent com­plete.

“I con­sider my­self and my neigh­bours re­ally lucky. I was up by Big Val­ley and Three Hills and we are in re­ally good shape com­pared to them,” said Pliva.

“We haven’t lost any qual­ity yet, and 95 per cent of what I have out there is Canola and it

should hang on okay.”

He says he needs only a cou­ple days of good weather to get back to work.

"It doesn’t even need to get hot, just a lit­tle sun­shine and a lit­tle breeze would be nice for a day, maybe two, and we can get rolling. It doesn’t take much," he said.

Even if they do get rolling, he says work­days are much shorter.

"The prob­lem is you don’t get go­ing un­til lunchtime and you pretty well have to quit at dark. When you used to be able to go 14 - 16 hours a day, you are down to 6 or 8 now,” he said.

Harold King of King's Seed Farm near Three Hills says they are about 82 per cent com­plete.

“It’s more than a lot of guys,” said King. "We need two or three good days. The trou­ble is it takes a few good days to get so you can even go, and then it rains again."

"It’s go­ing to be a while yet… time will tell.”

Farm equip­ment is sit­ting idle as farms wait for con­di­tions to dry up be­fore they con­tinue har­vest. Prov­ince-wide, har­vest is about 72 per cent com­plete.

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