Friday April 25, 2014

Record 2013 crop hurting Sask. farmers


Many producers are more concerned than pleased about Statistics Canada’s latest Saskatchewan’s 2013 crop estimates. StatsCan puts the crop at 38.4 million tonnes, which exceeds the province’s Growth Plan to increase crop production to 36.6 million tonnes by 2020.

If the estimates prove true, that puts the 2013 crop 40 per cent above the 2012 crop and 48 per cent above the 10-year average and that is having a hard-knock effect on the markets and making it near impossible for some producers to even sell their crop.

“I call it a ‘monster crop’,” said Dale Paslawski who farms near Cedoux. Paslawski also travels throughout the province for his work in the oil industry and has noticed large crops in fields all across the province. “We’re sitting on a huge amount of crops. We’ve got to sell some of it to pay the bills.”

Paslawski said producers won’t be able to contribute wealth to their communities if they can’t sell their grain and that it could be bad for everybody.

 “It’s a big crop — no question about that,” said Russ Leguee, who farms near Weyburn. “I’ve been farming for 35 years and it’s the biggest crop we’ve ever had.”

Leguee said the estimates are probably pretty accurate and that the crop itself and the release of the statistics is causing problems.

“It’s a little disheartening but not surprising,” said Leguee. He said prices are dropping drastically and he will probably still be marketing this crop with his 2014 harvest because of the size and a lack of room at the grain terminals.

Joe Glab farms north of Weyburn, near Cedoux, and his crops didn’t yield as well as many of his friends who farm and he is still having troubles.

“All-in-all we had a fair crop, but we can’t move it,” said Glab, who has usually sold about three-quarters of his crop by now. He said if he can’t move some soon, it will put a strain on his finances.

“There’s no doubt about some tremendous crop yields,” said Brad Eggum, a farmer near Midale. He suspects the estimates might be a bit high. “The numbers are a surprise to the industry.”

“Canada is generally a small consumer but a large exporter,” said Eggum. Canada’s crop could affect the world market and Eggum is watching the South American crop also. He said if the estimates prove to be inflated, prices could go back up, but that the problems moving the crop still won’t go away quickly.


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