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Warmer weekend good news for Manitoba farmers as harvest continues

A combine harvests soybeans, which is next on the list for most Manitoba farmers after this weekend.
A combine harvests soybeans, which is next on the list for most Manitoba farmers after this weekend. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Nati Harnik

For those trying to hang on to the last little bit of summer in Manitoba, this weekend’s forecast is surely one to get you excited.

During the time of year where farmers don’t get many days off — they may be looking longingly out the window of their combine — this weather is also good news when it comes to getting crops off the fields, and money in their pocket.

Highs in the low 20s — but more importantly, lows above freezing — bode well for keeping crops dry, and keeping farmers out in the fields instead of laid up waiting for the weather to cooperate.

Read more: Manitoba farmers hoping for good production, prices as harvest continues

Harry Siemens has been talking to farmers throughout the province since harvest began in August.

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He tells 680 CJOB after last weekend’s frost, this weather is a great bounce-back.

“When you’re talking about summer to fall, it comes really quickly. Some places [last weekend] got to -2, -3, -4 [degrees], for too many hours. But we’ve still got a great harvest coming off — the crop isn’t quite as good as we’d hoped earlier, but it’s still a good crop right across the province.”

Siemens says the frost does its damage to immature crops the most, and last weekend some farmers saw their spring wheat and canola crops bear the brunt of colder weather.

“We don’t lose the crop, but we lose quality. Quality of crops is measured in some sort of number — often it’ll drop a grade or two, and before you know it you’ve lost 20 to 30 per cent of your cash price per bushel.”

“We’re ahead. The frost could have caused an awful lot of damage if it were two weeks earlier, but we’re so far advanced with the harvest and the maturity of the crop that we’re probably [OK]. Crops like corn are a longer maturing crop, but as soon as that frost comes, it’s all mature. When it comes, then you take off what you can.”
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Read more: Harvest progressing rapidly in Saskatchewan as some areas hit hard by frost

One thing that’s still in the forecast this weekend, particularly in southeastern Manitoba, is rain.

While the accumulation shouldn’t amount to much, if anything — it can slow down the grain drying process.

Siemens says that’s when frost, suddenly, can be a farmer’s friend.

“Frost also is a good dryer. Sometimes farmers take their crops off a little damp, and put it through the dryer — but the frost can do that for you, and save a lot of money that way.”

And while a lot of things are out of farmers’ hands, one thing Siemens says Manitoba producers do as well as anyone is use their patience.

“Manitoba’s farmers are so good at waiting. If you get weather like we’re going to have today, you’ll see three, four, five combines on the field and they’ll get that grain in the bin in no time.”

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