Crops will be damaged, one producer said
By Diego Flammini
Jack Frost will make an appearance in Alberta this weekend.
Temperatures are expected to dip below zero with lows between -2 C and -5 C during overnight hours depending on the region, The Weather Network says. Some communities could also receive snow.
And that forecast could spell bad news for Alberta farmers.
Less than 20 per cent of the provincial harvest is complete, Alberta Agriculture’s harvest progress report said on Sept. 17. That figure is down from almost 30 per cent last year.
As crops are behind schedule, farmers could see the effects in their fields.
“We still have some immature crops that are going to see some damage come this weekend,” Humphrey Banack, who raises crops on 4,500 acres of land in Camrose, Alta. “We’re actually lucky this cold front didn’t come through two weeks ago or the damage would be worse. The damage will be there this weekend, but I think it’ll be limited.”
Some crops are too behind to even consider harvesting early.
“I’m swathing right now and I can see some wheat that’s still growing and is very green,” he said. “The crop isn’t even close for us to talk about harvesting it now.”
Crop moisture content plays an important role in protection from frost and cold temperatures.
“If you can get your crop down to 20 per cent moisture in the seed, then you are basically safe from any quality losses due to a killing frost,” Harry Brook, a crop specialist with Alberta Agriculture, told CBC Monday. “And that’s kind of the race right now… There’s a lot of standing crop out there that’s probably in that 30 per cent moisture range.”