Harvest is never problem free, but most farmers don’t mind the problems presented to them this year.
Despite a frost on Friday, bumper crops are filling terminals and storage bins, forcing farmers to get creative with their storage solutions.
“We’re going to have some storage issues. It’s a good problem to have,” said Marcel Van Staveren who farms near Creelman. “We might have to just make a big pile under the bright, blue sky.”
Van Staveren was about 40 per cent done with harvest as of Thursday and said some of his crops were yielding very high.
“We’re seeing yields we’ve never seen before,” said Van Staveren. “It’s been an exceptional year for cereals.” He added his soybeans aren’t quite ready for harvest and he had some significant losses in canola because of flooding. Adding to the boon of a bumper crop is the high quality seen in most crops. Van Staveren’s hard red spring wheat is coming in top quality with mid- to high-protein grades. The canola is also high quality.
Van Staveren expects the frost hurt the quality of crops yet to be harvested a bit but said the first frost of the season “certainly wasn’t catastrophic.”
“The crops should be advanced enough that it’s not going to cause major problems,” said Pattyson of the frost on Friday, but said it is too early to tell for sure.
“This is probably the biggest durum crop I’ve produced thus far,” said David Pattyson, a 30-year veteran farmer. About half to three-quarters of an inch of rain fell in the Tribune area, where Pattyson farms and put a halt to field operations last week.
“I’m trying to find ways to store it all,” he said. He is fixing up old bins and considering grain bags or grain piles.
As of Thursday, Pattyson was more than three-quarters done with his harvest and only had half of his durum left. Yields for his field peas were “very variable” because of flooding.
“I’m very pleased with the canola. It has an excellent yield,” said Pattyson and added that quality is highly variable in his area because of disease pressure.
Brad Eggum, who farms near Midale, was about two-thirds done with his harvest on Thursday. His early-seeded canola and cereals were done, but late-seeded canola and soybeans still needed to be harvested. They had a bit more maturing to do. He said spring wheat and canola were both yielding well, though the spring wheat was doing the best. He said the frost likely didn’t cause any major problems with the volume of the crop but that it may have hurt the quality.
“The spring wheat is a little lower protein than we’d like,” said Eggum of the quality, but said that it was still getting top grades.
“We’ll still be close to capacity, but we’ll be okay,” said Eggum of his grain storage situations. He contracted much of his wheat early and took it to the terminals before they became full.
The Ministry of Agriculture reported on Thursday that 55 per cent of the 2013 crop has been combined, and 24 per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut. The five-year average (2008-2012) for the region is 53 per cent combined, ranging from 21 per cent in 2010 to 90 per cent in 2012. Above-average crop yields with good quality are being reported in most of the region.
Rainfall ranged from nil to 5 mm. Topsoil moisture conditions on cropland are rated as two per cent surplus, 64 per cent adequate, 29 per cent short and five per cent very short.
The ministry reported very little crop damage this past week. Last week’s heavy rain caused some localized flooding. Strong winds blew some canola swaths around. In some areas, last week’s rain helped replenish some topsoil moisture and will help germinating winter cereals.