Some Alberta farmers are still dealing with their 2019 crops before completing the 2020 planting season
Farmers in Alberta are well into the 2020 planting season, but some growers still must deal with the 2019 crop before they can finish seeding this year’s crop.
Farmers left close to one million insured acres unharvested in 2019, said Nancy Smith. She’s an insurance product coordinator with Agriculture Financial Services Corp. (AFSC).
AFSC staff don’t collect numbers on uninsured acres that remained unharvested, as farmers aren’t required to report that information. So, the total number of unharvested acres in Alberta may be higher.
“It always is a challenge when you have to take off last year's crop before you can seed this year's crop,” Smith told Farms.com. Producers have “done really well and the majority (of crops) are off at this time.”
Some areas of the province are further behind other areas in completing this work. The northwest region is the furthest behind; farmers still must harvest approximately 10 per cent of crop. Producers in the Peace River region still have about 5 per cent of their crop in the field, said Smith.
“Everybody else is coming along pretty well. The south, of course, is done. They didn't have that much unharvested but, in the central area and the northeast area, there is less than 5 per cent left combine or to manage,” she said.
In the northwest and Peace River region, producers baled and burned some crops to get them off the field in order to start seeding.
In some areas, growers baled, rather than combined, the oats. “Sometimes oats don't overwinter as well as other crops. The (oats) shell out a little bit easier. The crops in the Peace (River region) that were burned were crops that were completely flat and sprouting. There was no way for the client to combine or even bale them,” said Smith.
The crops farmers could combine faired better than expected. Most cereal crops went to feed, and a small portion could go to export markets, said Ashan Shooshtarian. She’s a crop statistician with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
“Canola turned in better quality than expected. Most canola goes to crushers or export markets; the rest could be sent to biodiesel plants or used as feed,” she told Farms.com.
Although some farmers faced delays in spring seeding, the province is right around the five-year average with 80 per cent of crops in the ground, the May 26 crop report said.
Because of the delay, AFSC staff extended their recommended seeding dates anywhere from five to 15 days.
Extending the recommended seeding dates gives producers “a little bit longer to get some of these crops in the ground and still be covered for quality loss in the fall,” said Smith.
AFSC staff also recently determined the salvage grade for the crops harvested this spring.
“We've determined a salvage grade for some of these low-value crops where the farmer just isn’t able to market them the way he or she would want. We're trying to account for quality loss to that crop through our claims process,” said Smith.
If you still have unharvested acres from 2019 in the field, contact the staff at AFSC, said Smith.
“If you have any wildlife damage or if you're not going to be able to combine the acres, call the office before you do anything with that crop. Once you have combined those acres, let AFSC know that you've finished combining. The sooner we hear from the client, the sooner we're able to turn around these unharvest claims and get things settled for him or her,” she said.
Updated June 1
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