A bumper Manitoba processing potato crop was stolen from farmers by bad harvest weather. “We ended up with about 5,200 acres left in the ground,” Dan Sawatzky, manager of the Keystone Potato Growers Association told the Keystone Agricultural Producers advisory council meeting here Nov. 12. “That’s unprecedented in the history of potatoes I guess in the last 50 years.”
Potato growers suffered major losses, and a lot of onions and carrots were never pulled from the ground this fall. And some farmers are still out combining their corn and sunflowers over snow-covered fields. But, by and large, cereal crops and most vegetables fared well despite a near-drought summer followed by a cold, wet fall. The hardest hit were potato growers who couldn’t harvest eight per cent of their crop.
Predation losses are mounting, and producer frustration is growing. The issue of livestock kills is once again high on the agenda of beef producers as they gather at district meetings this fall. Wolves and other predators repeatedly take out animals, and aggravation is mounting that solutions to a problem as pressing as this gain so little traction year after year.
Fall weather complicated the harvest of potatoes in Canada, which is not yet over. Indeed, in order to harvest, potatoes must be dry and not too cold. On Prince Edward Island, the provincial agency estimates that $40 to $50 million could be lost if the harvest does not continue before the advent of freezing temperatures.
Due to a “catastrophic” disease outbreak in this year’s corn crop, Ontario farmers say they will likely need federal and provincial help. DON is a type of vomitoxin caused by a disease called Gibberella Ear Rot, which leads to fungus on the ear of the corn. Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulations limit the level of vomitoxin to prevent livestock from getting sick.
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