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Weather improves for Western Cdn. farmers

Weather improves for Western Cdn. farmers

Grain quality hasn’t been an issue so far, producers said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

After inclement weather caused weeks of harvest delays, combines are once again rolling across Western Canada.

“We had about 15 per cent of our acres left to harvest before the snow hit,” Margaret Hansen, a cash crop producer from Moose Jaw, Sask. and the Saskatchewan vice-president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers, told Farms.com.

“After the snow started falling, we didn’t turn a wheel for the next five or six weeks straight, which starts to get concerning.”

Hansen was in the middle of oilseed and wheat harvest before the weather turned. But she hasn’t noticed any grain quality issues since harvest restarted.

“The quality hasn’t been as impacted as we would have originally thought,” she said. “The cool temperatures might have helped hold the quality. The wheat didn’t sprout, so it didn’t get so downgraded. I’ve heard that oats are looking pretty good too.”

Alberta farmers are also taking advantage of better weather.

The provincial harvest is almost 78 per cent complete, Alberta Agriculture says. That number is up from about 50 per cent last week.

The almost 30 per cent increase in harvested acres can be directly attributed to the weather, said Lynn Jacobson, president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture.

“The weather has been kind to us and people are hopeful it will continue until the end of this week,” he told Farms.com.

As in Saskatchewan, grain quality in Alberta remains satisfactory.

“A few farmers who I’ve spoken to that have finished harvest said their wheat still had some colour to it and didn’t sprout.”

Jacobson urges producers to send harvest samples to the Canadian Grain Commission.

The Crown corporation extended its Harvest Sample Program deadline to accommodate farmers for a delayed harvest. Unregistered farmers have until Nov. 31 to sign up for the program, and registered farmers have until Dec. 31 to submit crop samples.

Taking advantage of the extended window can help producers in a few ways, Jacobson said.

“I’m telling everyone to get a free official grade from of the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) before a grain company comes to your farm,” he said. This information “will help you negotiate with a grain company. And it also lets the CGC know the quality of the crop that’s out there for sales and trading opportunities.”

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