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Snow carpets Sask. crops, weather causing harvest havoc

Some farmers still have crops in the field, but all they can do is 'wait-and-see'

Old Man Winter yanked the rug out from under the feet of many Saskatchewan farmers this week, as a heavy wet snow fell across the province.

Farmers have been happy with the yields, says Ian Weber, sales manager with Warrington AgroDynamic of Mervin. “But they’re not too happy right now with the weather.”

Weber estimates between 70 and 80 per cent of the crop is in the bin in the St. Walburg and Turtleford areas, respectively. Over in Glaslyn, Geoff Schick of AgriTeam thinks about 75 to 80 per cent of the crop is in. Both estimates are in line with the latest Saskatchewan Crop Report, which put harvest at 78 per cent complete in the north-west. Across the province, 80 per cent of the crop was harvested as of October 3rd, according to the crop report.

But both Schick and Weber say how much crop is left in the field varies widely between each farm. Some farmers had wrapped up harvest and were doing fall field work. Others still have a third or more of their acres yet to cover, they said.

Those farmers are worried, Schick says. To finish harvest, the snow must melt and the ground must dry. They need at least another week of decent weather, he says. “And we are in October.”

It’s a wait-and-see situation, Weber says. “If it warms up and the snow disappears, then we can be combining into November. It wouldn’t be the first time.”

Harvest weather hasn’t been ideal this fall, but it’s not a write-off yet. Crop quality was generally good before this week’s snow, Weber and Schick say. Weber says there wasn’t much number one wheat around, but most of it was holding at two.

Schick says canola in the bin before it snowed was dry, for the most part, but wheat was still between 18 and 20 per cent moisture.

“Canola will still be fine once the snow leaves. It’ll all be number one. No green issues,” Weber says of crops in his area. The biggest issue with standing canola will be shelling, he adds.

“The snow’s heavy. So any standing crop, I think it’s going to make it lay flat or push it down.”

Ultimately, there’s nothing farmers can do right now, Schick and Weber agree.

“I guess we just hope we can get back out there,” says Weber.” I don’t think it’s going to stay but it sure feels like winter right now.”

Trying to decide whether to swath or straight cut your snowy canola? Canola Watch has tips for canola growers dealing with snow.

About the author

Field Editor

Lisa Guenther is field editor for Grainews based at Livelong, Sask. You can follow her on Twitter @LtoG.

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