Second harvest of 2020 going smoother for Alta. farmers snowed in last year
EDMONTON -- For an Alberta family who finished 2019’s harvest just six months ago, the 2020 season is shaping up to be as memorable in a completely different way.
The Ericksons, oats farmers near Irma, southeast of Edmonton, have about 80 per cent of some 3,800 acres already in the bin.
“It’s been really good. We’ve had some really dry days,” Kent Erickson told CTV News Edmonton.
Compared to the rush last year by farmers across Alberta to get crops off before the snow – which largely wasn’t successful – the 2020 harvest is going quiet smoothly.
Across the province, 68 per cent of crops have been combined, according to the latest Alberta Crop Report.
That’s 22 per cent more than the previous five year average, and more than twice the amount that had been combined by the same time in 2019.
The head of Alberta’s wheat and barley commissions says much of Alberta has had good weather for the first time in years.
“This time last year, we were – most farmers had a blanket of snow over their crops,” Tom Steve told CTV News Edmonton.
“Medicine Hat through Lethbridge, down to the border, some of the biggest yields they’ve had in many years.”
And without other products to move on rail lines, producers are seeing favourable market access, too.
However, the year hasn’t been perfect for everyone.
A wet spring, which warranted Lamont County and nine other jurisdictions declaring an agricultural disaster, still is affecting those areas.
“There’s a circle around Edmonton that’s a real hot spot with too much moisture,” Steve explained.
“And in some cases the harvest is complete, but not in a good way because the yields are severely reduced.”
In Irma, the Ericksons are grateful for the cooperative weather they’ve seen, which will allow them to recoup after the devastating last harvest.
“You get a cushion, you’re able to pay off some debt that’s accumulated,” Erickson said.
“Maybe upgrade that older combine that you couldn’t for the last couple years.”
In addition to crop taken off the field, the Alberta Crop Report says another 29 per cent of canola, 16 per cent of oats, and seven per cent of spring wheat and barley has been swathed.