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Farmers gain ground

Last week’s summer-like weather has helped, but county farmers say they’re still about a week or so behind on this year’s harvest.
 
Sturgeon County was sunny, warm and mostly rain-free for much of last week, with temperatures reaching the high teens and low 20s on most days, Environment Canada reports.
 
That was welcome relief to area farmers, who had a late start on harvesting this year due to excessive rain.
 
Ron Krywko, who farms just west of Morinville, said he is probably about a third of the way through this year’s harvest and about a week behind schedule.
 
“This week that just went past really helped out a lot,” he said, and drastically improved field conditions.
 
André Montpetit of Sturgeon Valley Fertilizers estimated county farmers were 30 to 50 per cent done this year’s harvest, and, assuming we get some really great weather, might actually catch up and finish by Thanksgiving as usual.
 
Montpetit said most farmers are finished their peas at this point, adding his were “a disaster” this year in terms of yield. Barley and wheat collection is in progress, with canola just barely starting.
 
The big problem right now is moisture, Montpetit and Krywko said. Excess humidity means crops have been too wet to collect past about 8 p.m., costing farmers many hours of harvest time. The crops you do get come in tough and wet, which means more fuel used by your combine and more gas for the grain dryer.
 
“We’re getting to be pros at handling tough grain,” Montpetit said, as this is the fifth year in a row farmers have had wet crops.
 
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