Organic farmers typically run on a slightly later seeding and harvesting schedule than conventional farmers, but they are still well into harvest.
“My harvest is about halfway done,” said Ken Kessler, who farms near Pangman. Kessler grows organic barley, oats and flax and he is pleased with his crop so far. He said his flax has done the best of all his crops.
“The yields are definitely above average, for sure,” said Kessler. He said organic farming doesn’t typically produce yields as high as conventional farming, generally about 20 per cent less, but that he still has “pretty good crops.”
Kessler is hoping he’ll be done with harvest in about two weeks, but said that time frame is heavily dependent on weather.
“Weed control was a challenge this year,” said Kessler. He said the insects were numerous in some areas but didn’t seem to do a lot of damage.
“Prices (for organic crops) are starting to soften a bit but they’re still above the 10-year average,” said Kessler. “I can’t complain.” Grain movement in the organic sector is moving smoothly also. Kessler said he takes most of his crops to Lang or Mossbank and they get sent on from there, but he has had no trouble delivering any of his crop.
Ed Howse also farms organically in the Pangman area. He grows kamut, hard red spring wheat, malt barley and brown flax and was roughly two-thirds done with harvest as of Wednesday last week.
“The yields are pretty good,” said Howse of his crop so far. “Some are better than others.” He said his hard red spring wheat has done the best but the barley has done well also. It wasn’t a good year for kamut.
Howse has very few problems with pests or weeds. Flax was his only crop with significant weed issues but his “barley is very clean.”
Howse was also hoping to be finished in about two weeks and said the prices were “pretty decent.
Boyd Charles is an organic farmer in the Stoughton area and one of the few who runs a large, 8,000-acre operation. He grows wheat and peas and is about 20 per cent done with harvest, after dealing with many weather setbacks. He had very little problem with weeds or pests throughout the growing season.
Now, Charles is hoping for a few weeks of nice weather to maintain the quality of his crops and so he can get them off the fields.
“What we’ve got in so far has yields that are better than average,” said Charles. “They’re good.”
Charles said the quality is very good too, at least for now, for both his wheat and peas. Dry weather would help maintain the quality of his crops.