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Guenther: Sask. canola, wheat crops still stranded

Spring harvest likely for some Prairie farmers

In north-western Saskatchewan, farmers are crossing their fingers that warm weather will hold long enough for them to get the last of their crops in the bin.

There’s “more than enough” canola and wheat in the fields in the Glaslyn area, says Dave Shepherd, location manager at AgriTeam. Shepherd estimates that 30 per cent of the crop is left in the field, mostly canola and wheat. Shepherd only knows a few farmers who’ve wrapped up harvest.

Ian Weber, sales manager with Warrington AgroDynamic in Mervin, says there’s about 20 per cent of the crop left in the field in the Mervin area, while about 30 per cent remains to the north, around St. Walburg. Some farmers have all their crops in the bin, while others are only half-done, he says.

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But with weather pushing the mercury back into double digits, farmers are optimistic that they’ll get the crop in, Weber says. He expected farmers to be in the field over the weekend or by Monday.

Shepherd says farmers in his area are gearing up as well. Dryers are ready on the farm. But with the snow gone and warm weather in the forecast, he’s hoping the crop will come off pretty dry.

Local elevators have been trying to work with farmers, Shepherd says, with a couple even offering to help dry grain.

A recent issue of Canola Watch included tips for drying tough canola, including under-filling bins, keeping aeration fans on, adding heat, turning the bulk, and monitoring the grain.

Selling spring-threshed canola

But as November wears on, it’s increasingly likely that some Prairie farmers will be harvesting in the spring. And those farmers are already thinking about how they’ll market spring-harvested canola.

“Some farmers have been asking grain companies for contracts for spring-threshed canola,” says Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association. Grain companies aren’t contracting spring-threshed canola, Sobkowich says, because it’s impossible to know whether that canola will meet the quality parameters in the contract.

“But that doesn’t mean the company won’t be taking it. They’ll accept it, and it’ll be purchased as it grades, regardless of when it’s harvested,” says Sobkowich. And if there are problems with it, grain companies will work with farmers to figure out how to bring it in, he adds.

Meanwhile, Farm Credit Canada has said it will consider deferring principal payments and adjusting loan payment schedules to customers adversely affected by this year’s soggy harvest. Eligible farm customers from the three Prairie provinces can contact a customer service centre or their FCC relationship manager to find out more.

About the author

Field Editor

Lisa Guenther

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

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