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Saskatchewan snow bad news for some farmers

A field is covered with snow outside of Regina on Oct. 5, after a snowstorm hit many parts of the province. Kael Donnelly / Global News

The snowstorm that hit parts of Saskatchewan earlier this week is affecting some of the crops just as farmers were getting to the end of the harvest.

Todd Lewis, vice-president of the Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan, said the snow hasn’t created an ideal situation.

“Oilseed crops, flax and canola and so on, won’t be affected as badly, especially if they are in the swath, but standing crops, there’s quite a bit more standing canola out there now than there used to be,” Lewis said.

“Certain areas of the province have had up to a foot of snow or more and that will certainly push the canola down to the ground or the flax.”

Lewis said the snow will make it harder to pick up the crops and there may be some crop losses.

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“Cereals and so on will have some significant downgrading, they already had with the rains but this certainly won’t be helping any of that,” Lewis said.

“So it’s going to be challenging to finish up the remaining 20 per cent of the harvest that’s left.”

Parts of the province saw up to 40 centimetres of snow by Oct. 5.

READ MORE: Snow piles up across Saskatchewan

Prior to the snowfall, the Saskatchewan government said 80 per cent of the crop had been combined and 14 per cent was swathed or ready to straight-cut.

The five-year average from 2011-2015 at this time of the year is 86 per cent combined.

Some regions are in better shape than others, according to the government. In the southeast corner of the province, 88 per cent of this year’s crop is in the bin compared to 81 per cent in the southwest.

In the east central region, 77 per cent of the crop has been combined and 73 per cent in the west-central region. Seventy-eight per cent is combined in the northwest and northeast regions.

Significant rainfall over the weekend did affect harvest in different areas of the province.

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Strong winds and flooding have caused the majority of crop damage this year.

“Just like any other business, your expenses come off the top so that remaining 20 per cent may be 50 per cent of your profit or may be all of your profit depending on the situation,” Lewis said.

“What started off being an awfully promising year and a big crop and everything, I think they still have some fairly large bushels but I think with the downgrading and some of these issues and other things that have happened with this year’s crop, the quantity might be there but the quality certainly isn’t going to be great.”

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