Far eastern areas of the province, along with the southern region, were the hardest hit with moisture in late September. That has made completing harvest difficult in some places. Image: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Some crops still left to harvest in Bashaw, Ponoka area

Snow, rain and cooler temperatures delay end to harvest across Alberta

A more average week of weather is helping bring in the last remnants of this year’s crop.

Harry Brook, crop information specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, stated about 10 to 15 per cent of the harvest in the central region remains to be done. Meanwhile, the southern area is basically complete with the entire north far behind the five-year average.

“Most of what’s left locally is canola and it tends to weather better than crops such as wheat,” he stated.

“Leaving it out with the moisture that hit recently certainly won’t affect the quality as it would other crops, and for the most part the quality of what has come off the fields has been really good this season.”

He added the hardest hit regions in the northwest and northeast portions of Alberta — which range from about 15 to 30 per cent of the harvest done — will be challenged to even get the rest of the crops off.

“Those areas struggled to get started this year with the amount of moisture they received in the spring, forcing most to seed late,” Brook said.

“Unfortunately, many farmers up there didn’t adjust their cropping plans and were too late seeding what they did, hoping for a miracle that didn’t happen. With it being so wet up there now and the prospects of a killing frost, if there hasn’t already been one, it’s likely any crop that can be taken off will fall to sample grade or farmers will wind up once again taking their crops off in the spring.”

Brook added the most recent storm to hit Alberta, during the last week of September, hit a large swath of the province leaving behind significant amounts of moisture that delayed harvest activities.

“Portions of the northwest around St. Paul and Lloydminster, the region around Provost and stretching back took the far southeast area of Alberta got hit hard. It’s left crops and land rather wet, which may well see farmers not be able to get back out into the field this season,” he stated.

Yields locally are around average, according to Brook, while the south is down by 25 to 30 per cent. Figures for northern areas that have been able to harvest show yields are right around average.

“It’s quite surprising that most central area crops have done very well when most parts didn’t see any rain for two months,” he said.

“The area did get a bit of rain in May and June, just enough to help the roots grow and get established then rely on the accumulated moisture deep in the ground that carried over from last year. We’ll just have to see what happens in the next couple weeks.”

For more information, head to www.agriculture.alberta.ca and follow the links.

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