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Maintaining optimism amidst poor harvest conditions in Saskatchewan

Maintaining optimism despite poor harvest conditions
WATCH: Wet, cold weather has slowed harvest across Saskatchewan. Despite the less than ideal conditions, some farmers are seeing healthy crops.

Mike Kleckner would rather spend Monday working in the fields north of Rouleau, Sask. Instead, it’s yet another day of this harvest working in the shop because of the rain.

“It is a mentally exhausting thing when you spend five days waiting to work and you work two days, and then you’re back to square one again,” he said.

During the prime harvest month of September, the Regina area saw 78.5 millimetres of precipitation. On top of that, that area has been battered by snow and frost in recent weeks.

READ MORE: Wet, cool weather slows progress on Saskatchewan harvest

This has pushed the progress of harvest back across the province. According to the Oct. 10 crop report, only 55 per cent of the province’s crop is in the bin. This is well behind the five-year average for this time, 82 per cent complete.

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Going region by region, the southwestern corner of the province is most advanced with the harvest at 71 per cent complete.

Regional harvest completion based on the Oct. 10 Saskatchewan crop report.
Regional harvest completion based on the Oct. 10 Saskatchewan crop report. Global News

Kleckner works with several area farms through his business, MJK Ag Services. In the field, he’s seen crop downgrading.

“Now we’re at the point now where anything that’s out now other than canola or flax is very sprouted and very downgraded.”

Despite the rough weather this growing season, which began with a drought in the spring, Kleckner is optimistic about the crop in south-central Saskatchewan.

“Of everything that we’ve gone through this year, we have a phenomenal crop. The yields are well, quality was good. Now, most of the stuff where quality’s a problem is already off,” Kleckner said.

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READ MORE: Winter storm slows harvest operations in Saskatchewan

“The canola normally holds its own very well, so that’s mainly what’s left.”

Recent cold evenings and wind have helped dry what’s still in the field, according to Kleckner.

Later this week, Saskatchewan expects to see clearer skies and warmer temperatures. Kleckner said these conditions mean it could take longer for fields to dry, but harvest 2019 isn’t a total wash if the weather co-operates going forward.

“Some of this will definitely be pushed into November, but we’ve seen it before when November’s been just as good a harvest month as anything else,” Kleckner said.