Har­vest re­veals sur­pris­ing results de­spite hot weather

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Terri Hux­ley The Drumheller Mail

Dust, dirt, and hard work ac­count for the most sig­nif­i­cant sea­son in a farmer’s life; har­vest. This year the Drumheller area has hit the ground run­ning weeks ahead of sched­ule, sur­pris­ing many in a good way.

“In gen­eral terms, I think every­body will be fairly pleased with the har­vest this year,” said Star­land Agri­cul­ture field­man Al Hamp­ton. “As long as their equip­ment works, and as long as they don’t have any fires and as long as they take their time, it should all go well.”

Many farm­ers raised con­cern over the ex­treme heat. The long­est last­ing pe­riod with no rain for this area was five weeks. Be­cause of this dry year, crops have been turn­ing early.

Ac­cord­ing to the Al­berta Crop Re­port, the cen­tral re­gion has had very low mois­ture con­tent rat­ings for both sub­face and sub­soil mois­ture lev­els. Canola can be di­rectly af­fected by this as the plant prefers wet­ter weather con­di­tions to cre­ate healthy growth.

Wheat­land County was no dif­fer­ent when it came to this min­i­mal mois­ture.

“It’s def­i­nitely ahead of nor­mal,” said Al­bert Jensen, a local farmer based out of Dalum. “We haven’t been into any of the Canola but I’m think­ing the Canola is prob­a­bly go­ing to be the one that suf­fers the most from this heat. I’m ex­pect­ing Canola yields to be like a third less.”

Star­land County has seen de­cent yields and good qual­ity grain. Wheat and bar­ley sur­vived the best with great qual­ity while Canola suf- fered the most which can be seen through smaller yields.

“De­pend­ing on where you are at in the county, it’s ei­ther in full swing or just kind of get­ting started. It’s on dif­fer­ent lev­els – the north­west cor­ner would be the fur­thest be­hind and likely the eastern third of the county would be the far­thest ahead,” said Hamp­ton. “Gen­er­ally the qual­ity is good and the yields are def­i­nitely fall­ing within good av­er­ages.”

The cen­tral re­gion’s har­vest progress has im­proved 14 per cent com­plete com­pared to the five year av­er­age of a mere five per cent fin­ished. 16 per cent is now in the swath stage. Dry peas take first place with 61.9 per cent com­pleted in the cen­tral area with Bar­ley in sec­ond with 14 per cent fin­ished. Spring wheat trails be­hind at 12 per cent com­plete and canola takes last at eight per cent. De­spite the num­bers, Al­berta’s south re­gion has every­one beat with 52.4 per cent com­pletely fin­ished for the year.

Knee­hill County has reached and wit­nessed sim­i­lar find­ings to both Star­land and Wheat­land in re­gards to ex­tremely dry and hot weather.

The Mail spoke with Orkney local Crys­tal Fer­gu­son about the har­vest sit­u­a­tion in that area.

“We were all think­ing it’s go­ing to be a crappy year be­cause it’s so dry but we’re sur­pris­ingly think­ing ‘wow’, the yields are good and ev­ery­thing looks re­ally good,” said Fer­gu­son.

As a whole, farm­ers are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an early har­vest with all spec­trums of com­plete­ness from al­ready be­ing half way fin­ished to barely get­ting started.

We haven’t been into any of the Canola but I’m think­ing the Canola is prob­a­bly go­ing to be the one that suf­fers the most from this heat. I’m ex­pect­ing Canola yields to be like a third less.” Al­bert Jensen Alanna Farms

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.