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Alberta farmers continue to battle weather

Click to play video 'Alberta farmers face more potential problems after trying year' Alberta farmers face more potential problems after trying year
WATCH ABOVE: It's been a trying year for Alberta farmers. As Sarah Komadina reports, with snow in the forecast, finishing up the harvest could get even harder. – Oct 25, 2019

It’s almost November and according to the Alberta crop report, crops are only about 75 per cent harvested across the province, about eight per cent lower than the five-year average. Peace Region farmers have been hit the hardest, with about half of their crops still in the field.

READ MORE: Harvest progresses in Saskatchewan, 83% in the bin

“Once we get into this time of year, and into November, I think the weather can be even more challenging, so stressful is a good phrase for this harvesting season,” Alberta agriculture crop specialist Mark Cutts said.

READ MORE: Prairie canola farmers face uncertain market heading into harvest

“The last two to three years have been challenging. That five-year average is probably a number that is a bit lower than what we would expect if we have good harvesting conditions.”

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Michael Van Brabant farms near Riviere Qui Barre and said he hasn’t been able to combine his fields more than two or three days in a row.

“We have about 600 acres left, and in good conditions, I can do that in about three days but for the last few days we have only been able to do 80 acres a day,” Van Brabant said.

It’s costing more time and money, all of the grain has to be dried and that means Van Brabant has racked up a $20,000 bill in fuel for the drier alone. Van Brabant said when it’s a late harvest there are quality issues and the crops are harder to sell.

READ MORE: Slow harvest and mental health a concern for Alberta farmers

There’s little hope for things to turn around. With snow in the forecast, combining could last another few weeks.

“I really love farming, I think more young people need to get into farming,” Van Brabant said.

“But the climate that we are living in right now and due to the economic circumstances that we are forced to sell into, and then deal with the weather, it’s exhausting.”