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90% of crops across Alberta harvested in ‘complicated’ and ‘halted’ season

Some southern Alberta crops could benefit from fall snowstorms come spring: scientist
(Aired Nov. 28, 2019) The fall snow was a welcome sight for some Alberta farmers. Quinn Campbell explains.

As of Dec. 3, 2019, 89.7 per cent of all crops had been harvested across the province, which is down from both 2018 and 2017.

The final report of the 2018 season (published Oct. 31, 2018) found nearly 95 per cent of crops across Alberta had been harvested. That means 2019’s harvest dropped about five per cent from the previous year.

READ MORE: ‘Harvest from hell’: Alberta farmers demanding action from government

The last weekly crop report of the year was published by Agriculture Financial Services Corporation and Alberta Agriculture and shared online.

This crop year was complicated by a number of different weather conditions in Alberta, the report explained, including too much moisture in some areas and not enough rain in others. Some regions saw cold temperatures in the fall and snow and other excess moisture events.

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“Harvest operations started then halted numerous times and many areas were taking off tough and damp grain just to get it off the field.”

“As a result,” the report said, “increased time and input costs for drying grain, moving grain from bin-to-bin or piling it on the ground is common along the foothills and northern areas of the province.”

The Peace region wrapped up the season in the worst position, harvesting just 68 per cent of all major crops in the final week of the season (ending Dec. 3).

Alberta farmers face more potential problems after trying year
Alberta farmers face more potential problems after trying year

The amount of crop left unharvested varies depending on where you are in Alberta.

The south left about two per cent, central and northwest both had approximately seven per cent still out, northeast had 13 per cent left, with Peace lagging at 32 per cent of acres yet to be combined.

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“Provincially there is an estimated 10 per cent of all crops that will be out until spring, unless a weather window opens up at some point, and this volume matches the last crop report from 2016.”

READ MORE: Farmers in Alberta, Saskatchewan struggling to harvest snow-covered crops, while Manitoba saw ‘miracle’ snow melt

When comparing crop types, winter wheat, fall rye, lentils and chickpeas all had 100 per cent harvest rates across all Alberta. Canola (84.5 per cent) and oats (85.3 per cent) were on the lower end, province-wide.

Canola industry showcases Alberta’s ‘other oil’
Canola industry showcases Alberta’s ‘other oil’

The report did highlight a silver lining to all the moisture that created challenges for harvest this season, though.

“The sub-soil moisture reserves are currently near normal for the vast majority of Alberta, which will be available for spring seeding.”

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

The provincial reports are compiled from data gathered through surveys on moisture and crop conditions, progress of seeding and harvesting, insect and disease situation, yield potential and crop quality, as well as other sources.

Alberta crop report Dec. 3, 2019 by Emily Mertz on Scribd