About a quarter of Alberta’s crops currently remain unharvested due to snow and heavy downpours that disrupted previous harvest attempts. The region’s farmers want to gather as much as they can while the weather has stabilized—and before the crop insurance payouts hit next spring.
“The weather has changed for us now, as you can see. It’s blue sky, and we got a very strong Chinook wind. That is really, really helping out the grain farmers around,” farmer Greg Hawkwood told CBC News.
Hawkwood’s wheat crop was covered in snow just a few weeks ago. At present, he is recovering as much barley, canola and wheat as possible before another snowfall hits.
“Mother Nature is our boss, and whatever she throws at us, we just deal with it,” he said.
Farmers like Hawkwood are worried that even if they can manage to harvest the remaining unharvested crops, they might still suffer large financial losses.
“Because it’s been laid down for so long, and we’ve had all the moisture and the snow and that stuff, we’ve lost grade on it. It’ll probably end up as a feed wheat,” he explained.
Hawkwood detailed that farmers budget their operations on the grade of the grain; any dip in quality would translate to significant losses that would scare even financiers.
“You hear rumours out there that a lot of the banks are getting nervous now, because a lot of the farmers now, this is the time when they sit down with their banker and plan for next year,” Hawkwood stated.
CBC News reported that two Edmonton-area counties declared states of agricultural disaster following the devastation wet weather had on their crops.
“It’s not surprising, especially when maybe within those counties over 50% of the crop is not harvested,” commented Alberta Federation of Agriculture president Lynn Jacobson.
“If they have unharvested crops, then the payout under crop insurance regulations will basically be next spring. That’s gonna cause a financial crunch for a lot of people.”