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Alta. farmers reflect on 2018 harvest

Alta. farmers reflect on 2018 harvest

Growers needed to be patient and resilient this year, one producer said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

With harvest in the rearview mirror, Alberta farmers shared their observations from a unique season.

Snow played a big role in delayed regional grain harvests, said Renn Breitkreuz, a grain producer from Onoway, Alta. and chair of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission.

“It was another challenging harvest,” he told Farms.com. “It was delayed due to multiple snow events and frost. Consequently, there are pockets with crops still left in the field and there are quality issues related to the poor weather.”

But it wasn’t just the snow and moisture that caused crop issues. Parts of southern Alberta experienced drought for the third straight year, he added.

The combined impact from the snow and dry conditions could result in a lower provincial yield, Breitkreuz said.

“I think overall the average will be down from the previous year (43.5 bushels per acre),” he said. “Some areas got a reasonable volume of crops, but the quality is on the poorer side.”

Jason Lenz, a grain producer from Bentley, Alta. and chair of Alberta Barley, also reflected on the harvest season.

The snow caused Lenz to finish harvest about two weeks later than usual, he said.

“It was a little frustrating for sure,” he told Farms.com. “We learned that you have to be patient and resilient through everything. We had six different snowfalls in about a 40-day period and weren’t able to really get harvesting until Oct. 17.”

Dry weather caused a mixed bag of yield and quality, he added.

“Some fields yielded as expected, and some did better than expected,” Lenz said. “I think that’s just because of how dry it was in the area and that the rains we did get were kind of spotty.”

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