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Snow delaying harvest for Saskatchewan farmers

WATCH: There are concerns with how the recent snowfall will affect crop quality.

Recent snowfall in parts of Saskatchewan continues to plague Saskatchewan farmers.

The cold and wet conditions are delaying harvest and damaging crops as they sit in damp fields.

READ MORE: Farmers make headway on Saskatchewan harvest, but rain slowing progress

The president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) said farmers have faced many challenges this growing season including immature crops, poor germination, unseasonal weather, and Monday’s blanket of snow adding to the harvest delay.

“It’s so early, and in some areas, it was a record snowfall, it’s a one in a 100-year event in some of those accumulations,” Todd Lewis said.

“It’s difficult and we’re just going to hope for a good October.”

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The amount of snow that fell in Saskatchewan as of 8 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019.
The amount of snow that fell in Saskatchewan as of 8 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. Global Saskatoon

Kevin Hursh, who farms in southwest Saskatchewan, said the heavy snowfall has flattened some crops and the excess moisture could be damaging to cereal crops in particular.

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“Wheat and durum and any barley that’s out there, barley will no longer make malting,” he said.

“Much of the wheat and durum that went through this snowfall is likely to end up in the bottom grades, much of it likely only usable as feed.”

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READ MORE: APAS president urges farmers to ‘talk to people’ during stressful, late harvest

Hursh said many crops will be downgraded in quality and worth significantly less.

The delay in getting crops into the bins could also have a snowball effect on transportation issues over the winter.

“We’ve missed a lot of the shipping window in September because the crop wasn’t off,” Hursh explained.

“The shipping programs of a lot of the grain elevators and railways haven’t been busy.”

READ MORE: Raymore, Sask. farmer marks 70th straight harvest

Lewis said farmers are feeling frustrated as more pressures are being added to their bottom line.

“The trade deals, the markets haven’t been great this year and then we’re having trouble getting the crop off so that we can get it market,” he said.

“Lot’s of uncertainty about what grade our crop is going to be and what’s left out in the field and what kind of condition is it going to be in.”

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Hursh said if the weather continues to be poor some farmers may not get their crops off this fall.