This year would have been a great year to grow rice.
That’s the sentiment from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry crop information specialist Harry Brook regarding this growing season’s nearly constant damp conditions.
Brook, in an interview last week, explained that while harvest has begun across the province, most crops in central Alberta remain either standing or having been swathed.
“The amount harvested right now is very isolated. For the most part, it’s canola that (has) gotten off while a lot more is sitting in swaths,” he said, adding there have been some pea fields that have been done.
“There isn’t a lot that’s been taken, it’s just been too damp.”
To illustrate, Brook explained one producer in the region said his wheat is ready to harvest but because of the wet weather, the moisture level in the head is too high.
“It’s a situation that isn’t unique to this region, but is across the province, with the exception of the far south,” Brook stated.
“What we need is warmer and drier weather combined with a nice breeze to dry out the crops and the fields. If this trend continues, you could see some very disappointing yields.”
And it’s not only the dampness that’s a danger, but the severe lodging and potential for splitting and sprouting that Brook expressed a worry about as well.
“There are some sites, even locally, that look like a huge mess. There are some with lots of lodging and since there is still the possibility of occasional hail and strong winds, it won’t take much for canola pods to start shelling out. That right now is a huge fear for producers,” he said.
“Even in cereals, if this cool damp trend continues you will see seeds beginning to sprout while still on the head, then it simply turns into feed grain. With the tight margins producers are working on, you hate to lose any seed.”
Brook added its been a very frustrating season so far and harvest seems to be no different.
“With the tantalizing prospect of a great harvest this year, producers can almost taste it,” he said.
“Yet, they can’t do anything until it’s in the bin and there still remains a tremendously large downside potential out there regarding their yields.”