Snow causing more harvest grief in Alberta, Saskatchewan

CNS Canada — Snow and freezing rain continues to hamper harvest progress across a large portion of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Environment Canada issued weather warnings and alerts for much of central and northern growing regions of Alberta and Saskatchewan on Friday. Up to 15 cm of snow are forecast, with freezing rain also likely in those areas where the temperatures don’t dip as low.

This latest snowfall is coming after a few weeks of adverse weather, and market participants estimate large portions of the canola and wheat crops still to be harvested.

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According to provincial reports, about 20 per cent of Saskatchewan crops and 28 per cent of Alberta crops are still on the field, with some areas only about half complete on a regional basis.

“The weather has been a slog,” said Mark Cutts, crop specialist with Alberta’s provincial Ag-Info Centre.

Producers were still hopeful the weather would improve and harvest would be completed before the winter, he said, but noted that in the middle of October “it’s a flip of a coin whether (the snow) stays or not.”

Quality downgrades are the biggest issue facing canola and cereal crops yet to be harvested, said Cutts. High moisture content will be an issue, he added, but cooler temperatures should help keep that tough and damp grain from deteriorating before it can be dried down.

While quality will be an issue, Cutts noted yields were generally looking good.

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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