Thursday, March 23, 2023
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Southern Alberta farmers optimistic heading into harvest

Gary Stanford is wrapping up his second cut of hay and will start harvesting his cereal crops near Magrath, Alta. this week.

After a wet start to the growing season, the current prospects are promising.

“My neighbours have started their harvest. I’ve contacted them to see what their yields are and they say they’re about average over long-term averages right now,” Stanford said. “The barley and peas are doing fairly well.”

“It just looked so bad at the beginning of the year in the month of May that we’re pretty pleased with what we’re seeing right now,” Stanford said.

“It’s a big win for us in all of southern Alberta.”

North of Lethbridge, the early results are slightly mixed.

Read more:

‘We need inches of rain to recover’: Alberta ranchers and farmers desperate for a downpour

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David Bishop farms near Barons, Alta. He just finished harvesting his dryland peas and said his fields could have used more moisture in July.

“The heat has hurt us somewhat,” Bishop said. “The peas are down a little bit from our average but they were still respectable considering how hot we’ve been, so not really disappointed.”

“It won’t be a bumper crop by any means, but compared to last year’s crops it’s night and day difference.”

Both Stanford and Bishop say any rain that falls now will be too late to impact crops. They’re hoping for continued blue skies in the weeks ahead but with cooler temperatures.

“For the next two or three weeks if we could get sunshine and 28-30 above, that’d be perfect,” Stanford said.

“We don’t even combine when it gets above 32 or 33 because the chance of fire is so great,” said Bishop.

Read more:

A 20-minute storm with 12 months of consequences: Farmers devastated by crop loss

According to Environment Canada, southern Alberta temperatures are expected to remain right around that 30 degree mark for at least the next week.

At this point, Bishop is predicting an early harvest and feels the outlook heading into the fall is much like the weather: sunny.

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“We’re going to have some grain in the bins compared to last year, which is good to see,” Bishop said.

2021 harvest seeing well below average yields across Alberta

2021 harvest seeing well below average yields across Alberta – Sep 8, 2021

“Prices are staying strong. They’re not as high as last year, but they’re still strong so I’m very optimistic this year, for us, for farming.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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