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2021 harvest seeing well below average yields across Alberta

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Harvest in southern Alberta is in full swing, with some farmers almost done due to an early start this year. As Quinn Campbell reports, as expected, drought conditions are resulting in lower-than-normal yields. – Sep 8, 2021

The buzz of combines can be heard across the Prairies as farmers like Sean Stanford are busy harvesting the crops they were lucky enough to get despite the prolonged drought.

“We had some untimely rain storms we could have used in the summer that we ended up getting in the fall, a few set backs from that but aside from that everything has been going relatively well,” said Stanford.

Read more: Severe drought in Alberta brings on early harvest

Southern Alberta irrigation was a big help for many producers like Stanford who farms near Magrath, Alta., but he added all crops felt the effects of the drought and heat.

“The dryland yields are down a fair bit from the five year average I would say, the irrigated yields, they are around average to a little bit below,” Stanford said.

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“The hot weather we had in July hurt them as well, so you can only put so much water on a field and mother nature still does what she does.”

Read more: Alberta farmers see cost of fertilizer jump as grain prices rise

Tom Steve with the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions said yields are coming in low, pushing up the demand.

“That is why prices have spiked up in the market place — and you are going to see that actually at the grocery store, you are probably already seeing it now.”

Read more: Sticker shock hitting consumers at the grocery store as drought takes toll on crops

According to the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) , the provincial yield estimates are at 60 per cent of the five-year average.

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation

“We have to keep in mind these are the worst drought conditions we’ve had in over 20 years, so the yields of expectation are low but farmers are trying to get off whatever they can in these conditions,” said Steve.

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According to AFSC, as of August 31 its estimated harvest is 26 per cent complete in Alberta, compared to the five-year average of just 11 per cent.

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation
Agriculture Financial Services Corporation. Agriculture Financial Services Corporation

Farmers are now hoping the moisture they waited all summer for holds off, until all of their crops are in the bin.

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