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Taber corn growers facing second-straight year of hail-related challenges

Click to play video 'Taber corn facing second-straight year of hail challenges' Taber corn facing second-straight year of hail challenges
WATCH ABOVE: Last year, the Taber corn season was cut short by a massive hailstorm in early August. In 2020, it has also faced hail-related challenges. Danica Ferris has more on when southern Albertans can expect to see the summer favourite for sale. – Jul 21, 2020

Mother Nature hasn’t cut corn farmers in Taber, Alta., many breaks over the last two seasons.

Johnson Fresh Farms owner James Johnson lost as much as 90 per cent (450 acres) of his crop in 2019 after a massive hailstorm in the first week of August. This year, a hammering of hail on June 13 already has the farmer seeing a second-straight year with losses.

Read more: Alberta hail storm forces early end to Taber corn season

“We probably had about 50 per cent of our acres involved in the hailstorm,” Johnson said. “Out of that 50 per cent of our acres, probably 25 of it we might be able to get some kind of crop off of, but it will be hit and miss.”

Johnson said the area has been exceedingly unlucky when it comes to hail over the last year, a trend that he hopes to see come to an end.

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Read more: Severe weather events worsening in Calgary: hail suppression expert

“Hopefully we’re kind of done our turn with getting hit with hail,” he said.

“You can go a long time without it — which we did previously — and then now we’ve kind of had it back to back.”

Johnson said it hasn’t just been the hail that has been tough for farmers to deal with this season.

After a great start for his corn crops, a lack of heat and an abundance of rain slowed things down, delaying the start of selling season.

“It’s definitely pushed it back from where we were really hopeful [to get out there],” he said. “We thought we’d be going out, hopefully this weekend, and that’s not going to be the case.

“It will be pretty tight I think to get out by next weekend.”

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Johnson said the goal now is to get trucks out selling corn in time for August long weekend, as long as Mother Nature decides to co-operate.