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Sask. farmers reflect on 2018 harvest

Sask. farmers reflect on 2018 harvest

A fungicide application boosted yields, one producer said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

As they near the end of harvest, Saskatchewan producers shared their observations from a growing season wrought with challenges.

Keith Fournier, a producer from Lone Rock, Sask. and director with the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, noticed a lag in crop maturity after a fungicide application.

“The application probably delayed the maturity of the (canola) crop by about a week or so,” he told Farms.com. “But I love the extra yield boost I’m getting, so I don’t think I’m going to change the fungicide program.”

Fournier called 2018 an “abnormal year.

“If you would’ve asked me in July how the season was going, I would’ve told you I expect an early harvest. We were getting the heat we needed, and the crops were looking really good,” he said.

But conditions changed a bit later in the season.

In addition to producers in his area also had to deal with smoke from B.C. forest fires.

More than 1.34 million hectares (3.3 million acres) of land burned in B.C. over the summer. The provincial government declared a state of emergency from Aug. 15 to Sept. 7.

“I remember one day in August where the smoke was so heavy the street lights came on during the middle of the day,” he said. “It seemed like the plants just shut down during those days, and we probably lost about 10 days off our maturity.”

Heavy snowfalls early in the fall weighed the crops down and resulted in wet grain, leading to difficult harvest conditions.

Margaret Hansen, a wheat producer from Moose Jaw, Sask., also reflected on the harvest season.

Her family essentially had two separate harvest windows, she said.

“We had a nice, long harvest window early on,” she told Farms.com. “We had excellent yields and excellent quality. But then the weather caused a break from early September to October. We eventually got the crop off but it was definitely nerve-wracking at the time.”

The 2018 harvest has reaffirmed the importance of efficiency on the farm, Hansen said.

“It definitely taught us to may hay when you have good weather because you never know how long it will last,” she said.

Reflecting on the broader growing season, Hansen noted the importance of subsoil moisture.

“We had a pretty dry summer, but the subsoil had quite a bit of moisture,” she said. “We got very little rain in July and August but, because the subsoil had enough moisture, the crops got the moisture they needed and there wasn’t much of an opportunity for disease to set in.”

ligora/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

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