August 25, 2014 7:49 pm

Excess rain puts strain on farmers’ livelihoods

Bill Gehl lost his entire field of peas back in July to the rain, accounting for a loss of 20 per cent of his crop.

Kim Smith/ Global News

REGINA – The weather hasn’t been kind to some farmers in Saskatchewan this year.

First, the storm at the start of the summer interfered with seeding and killed some crops and now an abundance of rain in August is causing harvesting problems, particularly in the southeast corner of the province.

“People getting stuck in the field and just actually getting the crop off the ground. It’s going to give people some grief,” said Bill Gehl with the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission.

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“When you have the beating rains, such as we’ve had, it just exasperates these problems. Of course the wet soils just makes the mechanical part of harvesting very difficult.”

Gehl farms on land about 10 km north of Regina. He lost his entire field of peas back in July to the rain, accounting for a loss of 20 per cent of his crop.

“It does seem to be a bit of a trend these days, certainly coming out of the late ‘80s when we had no rain at all,” said Gehl.

Despite losing his peas, Gehl said his other crops are looking alright and he’s anticipating an average year: “If we could get two months of no moisture that would just be perfect for us.”

Last week’s provincial crop report said just over one per cent of total crop has been combined, lagging behind the two per cent five-year average.

“We’re a little bit behind and certainly there’s a little bit of green crop that’s still out there that’s very immature,” said Brent Flaten with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. “We certainly didn’t need this last rainfall at this time of year.”

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