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Canada - Snow puts another damper on 2019 harvest

Harvest wasn’t done in Saskatchewan when snow fell on the weekend, but Todd Lewis says farmers won’t stop because of the white stuff.

Lewis, the president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, said Monday he expects farmers to keep working to get all of their crops into the bin.

“It’s another slowdown for sure, but in our own local area, there was a producer (Sunday) out combining some canola,” said Lewis, who farms near Gray.

“When (snow falls) with a cold temperature, a lot of producers are still able to continue combining if it remains cold enough. When it melts, that will slow things down because the moisture content will come up in the crop and it’ll have to dry out.”

If there’s more snow and there’s drifting, that will cause problems. But even if the fields are wet, Lewis said farmers can take advantage of the frost to get onto their land in hopes of getting more of their crops off.

“If it’s not snowing too hard (Monday), there will be guys out there trying to get what they can,” Lewis said. “(The snow) certainly delayed (harvest) again and this week’s forecast sure doesn’t look good, but we could have some nice weather the first part of November as well.

“We’re getting close to the end, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”

According to Thursday’s crop report, harvest was 83 per cent complete in Saskatchewan. Farmers may have got more combining done since then, but the snow started flying Saturday to put a damper on things.

Lewis admitted that some producers may have decided to end their harvest for the year and leave crops in the fields, while others will choose to soldier on.

“Producers are going to have to make some hard decisions as far as when they’re going to have to quit,” Lewis said. “Nobody wants to see a crop go through the winter months out in the fields but unfortunately we’re going to be at that stage here in a lot of Saskatchewan this fall.”

Lewis finished his harvest on Wednesday, so he avoided having to make that decision.

His biggest frustration was the number of continuous days he had for harvest. Other than a recent one-week stretch of decent weather, Lewis said the longest streak of good weather during harvest comprised of just two days.

He remembered other years where harvest dragged on, but this one has been what he called “especially troublesome” because of the amount of moisture involved.

“It’s difficult to get into the field and producers are getting stuck,” he said. “And certainly the downgrading of the crop has been pretty far spread and wide (to the point) that we’re seeing losses as far as the grain quality throughout southern Saskatchewan.”

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