Prairie winter wheat harvest to ‘drag on’

CNS Canada — The winter wheat harvest is underway in some parts of the Prairies, but because of variable conditions, activities are expected to ‘drag on’ this year.

“Some people are saying some of it may run into the spring crops,” said Jake Davidson of Winter Cereals Canada at Minnedosa, Man. “But overall things are starting to move. It all depends on where in the Prairies you’re sitting and whether you’re getting this heat right now or not.”

The harvest normally gets started around this time of year, though some producers in parts of Manitoba usually harvest a little bit earlier in August, Davidson said.

Crop conditions are variable so far, due to the wide range of weather seen in different areas this year, with reports of fusarium a little bit worse than in most years.

“There were some reports of quite a bit of fusarium, but some of that turned out to be just different-coloured kernels due to a little bit of different kinds of root rot because of the high moisture levels,” he said.

What producers do with their winter wheat once it’s been harvested will likely depend on what grain companies do, Davidson said.

“Last year they were getting phoned on the combine and they were bidding against each other,” he said. “Some of the grain companies, since the removal of the single desk, have built some significant markets in the southern U.S. and if they want to keep those markets they’re going to have to aggressively go after the crop.”

Though farmers may have the opportunity to sell right off the combine, they may need to also buy seed to plant this fall if they plan on putting in winter wheat.

“There are a lot of people looking at putting winter wheat into their non-seeded land, so the demand has been high,” Davidson said.

“So if people are thinking about it, they better think fast and get in touch with their seed people, because a lot these seed growers feel they’re pretty near sold out.”

— Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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