Farmers struggle to take off crop
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.