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2019 harvest underway in Alberta

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2019 harvest is underway in Alberta
WATCH ABOVE: Farmers are in the field as harvest 2019 begins. Regions across the province have seen a wide range of conditions, and quality, of yield. Quinn Campbell reports – Aug 29, 2019

It’s a busy time of year for farmers in southern Alberta, as summer turns to fall and harvesting begins.

With rain, shine and a lot of thunderstorms rolling through the forecast this year, one local farmer said it’s been a battle to get to this point.

“You’ll see a big thunderstorm coming and then it will disappear before it hits you… or it might hit you, you never know,” Dave Bishop said.

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Bishop farms near Barons, Alta., just 45 kilometres north of Lethbridge.

He owns land scattered across the area and said this summer has been a tough growing season. With rain coming in a little too late in some areas, Bishop said several of his crops are showing signs of drought, while others are doing well.

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“One crop is probably going to average a 40-bushel crop and our crop of peas that we just did out west was 15,” Bishop said.

Bishop isn’t the only farmer in the province who has run into issues this growing season.

Agronomist Jeremy Boychyn said farmers in the southeast have also been battling dry conditions for several years now.

“Not just this year, but the past few years. This is their fourth year of drought conditions.”

WATCH BELOW: Southern Alberta crops in need of rain

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Southern Alberta crops in need of rain

While the south has been too dry, Boychyn said northern parts of Alberta have been dealing with the opposite problem: too much moisture.

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“We’ve seen quite a bit of moisture in the northwestern part of the province,” he said.

“With that additional moisture, we are getting a slowing down of crops. So what we’re seeing is most crops are delayed based on their average.”

Another issue that has plagued farmers in the south is bouts of hail.

“We did have a pretty significant swath of hail,” Boychyn said.

“I believe they said it was 10 miles wide, going from across the northwestern part of [southern Alberta] across to the southeastern part and took down quite a few fields.”

For Bishop, these unpredictable weather patterns can often take a financial toll on his bottom line, but Bishop said it goes much further than that.

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“Of course we get affected, but then we don’t upgrade our equipment, or we may not do repairs we were going to do, or expand our operations,” Bishop said.

The Alberta crop report shows the overall states of crops in the region to be quite scattered, with the south currently sitting at 50 per cent and central Alberta is in better shape at nearly 82 per cent.

The northeast region is at 83 per cent while northwestern Alberta crops are showing to be at only 46 per cent.

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