It was a rough start to harvest for Alberta farmers, but officials in the province say most farmers are done for the season.
Harry Brook is a Crop Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and he says around 95% of the crops are finally in the bin.
But he says, although they are thankful the weather created an opportunity to finish, it was still bad news.
“Taken the crop off and getting in the bin is one thing. You can heave a sigh of relief and say ‘thank God it’s off’, but then it’s asked, what did the weather do to the crop when it’s out there? And we are seeing quite a bit of the crop has been damaged due to cold conditions, which means you’re probably looking at around 50% loss of value in the crop.”
Brook says that wintery weather early in the fall wreaked havoc on local farmers.
“It was a consistent weather pattern that hung on for six weeks, and then all of a sudden we got lovely weather… you could almost audibly hear the gasp of farmers saying, ’Thank God it’s come!’ So now we’re up around 95% provincially, and it’s pretty consistent across the board.”
Provincially, crop quality for all types of crops is below their 5-year averages, with the exception of malt barley and the top two grades of durum wheat and dry peas, which are above their 5-year averages.
In recent years, harvest progress was wrapped up by this time of the year, with the exception of 2016 when it was delayed even worse than 2018.