Although yields differed across the province, crop quality was good
Alberta producers have finished their 2020 harvest, but not everywhere produced the anticipated high yields.
Humphrey Banack is a grain farmer in Camrose, Alta. and a board member with the Alberta Federation of Agriculture. Farmers in the central and north areas of the province experienced a tough start to the year, he said.
“A big chunk of central and north-central Alberta had flooding, right from May 21. We started seeding canola on May 20, and the skies opened after that. We got our crop in when we needed to, but we just got rain after rain after rain,” he told Farms.com.
Banack lost 20 to 40 per cent of the crop in some fields.
“Especially in our canola, there was no crop at all. It drowned. There was nothing there. The combines went over and chopped a few weeds and just did residue management,” he said.
As a result of the difficult season, farmers in this area didn’t have strong yields. Some canola yields, for example, ranged from six to 20 bushels/acre. Some areas in southern Alberta fared better, averaging 44 bu/ac of canola.
“Diversity is the keyword that I’d like to get across. A good number of producers in Alberta had great crops. Down towards the south end of the land we farm, (for example), the crops were average or maybe a little bit better than average whereas, 15 to 20 miles away, we were way below average,” said Banack.
While some yields were less than ideal, the quality of crops was good this year, said Banack.
“Quality is very good. On our farm, we really push our yields with fertilizer and fungicides, which extends our maturity date. So, we typically don't sell number one wheat. This year, I just got our grades back and we will sell all number one wheat,” he said.
Overall, harvest went well and most of the crop came off dry, which was a change in Alberta, said Banack.
“The previous two years, we put very wet material through our combines and harvesters and it was just slower going. When the straw is dry, harvesting is much nicer,” he said.
Harvest is complete now, as the province sat at 98.7 per cent of crops combined as of the Oct. 20 crop report. This figure is better than the five-year average of 77.3 per cent.
Photo credit: Taryn Milton photo