Week of rain and cold weather delays harvest
With warmer temperatures this week farmers were expected to make up for lost time with harvest.
The rain and cold delayed many local producers last week, but with the mercury hitting 18 Celsius with very little precipitation, producers saw field conditions improve.
“It’s not terribly surprising to see everyone a little bit behind schedule, but as we head into next week, hopefully there can be some progress made on the harvesting front,” said Alberta Agriculture and Forestry crop specialist Mark Cutts.
According to the crop report produced by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry on Sept. 19, harvest for the North East Zone (Smoky Lake, Vermilion, Camrose, Provost) was at 30 per cent combined with another 27 per cent in the swath. While that is up five points from the week before, it still puts them well behind the five-year average of 46 per cent combined and 34 per cent swathed. Pea harvest is nearing completion while one third of the spring wheat and 20 to 25 per cent of the barley and canola are in the bin.
One of the big issues producers are still battling is the late harvest from last year. Many local farmers still had grain in the field when the snow melted this spring and had to get that crop off first before being able to plant this spring. This has pushed everything back.
“North east and north west of Edmonton has had some adverse conditions since last fall that have dragged into this spring in terms of seeding dates and now not surprisingly a little bit behind schedule,” said Cutts.
The promising side are the yields currently coming in, which appear to be holding strong for the most part.
With the yield index unchanged at 109 per cent with canola estimate up half a bushel and peas down half a bushel/acre. It is early for full quality grades, but 98 per cent of wheat and 89 per cent of field peas are in the top two grades while 97 per cent of barley is grading 1 CW or better.
“Rain can have an impact on the quality, but if it’s not a large amount of rain and the crops are in good condition, then that impact can be fairly minor,” said Cutts. “But a prolonged wet period is not good for quality, but it looks like we’ve got past the worst of it.”