“We’ve got No. 1 and No. 2 in wheat. We’ve seen some very good protein levels as well.”
Harvest in the Peace district is reaping better yields than expected, reports an Alberta Agriculture marketing specialist. David Wong says that despite drought conditions and pest problems, “There’s more there than we anticipated.”
A mid-October snowfall caused a hiccup in harvesting operations, but they quickly resumed, Wong said in an interview last week. “Some areas had up to a half inch of snow, but we were right back at it just a couple of days later.”
By October 19, harvest was 90 per cent or better complete in the Peace, said Wong.
“On average, the yields are coming in below average but better than expected. Most of the Peace was under extremely dry conditions this summer and what moisture we did get came late.”
Grades in early harvested crops are really good, Wong said. “We’ve got No. 1 and No. 2 in wheat. We’ve seen some very good protein levels as well.”
Some of the slower harvest is happening in the Elmworth and Rio Grande areas southwest of Grande Prairie where precipitation was heavier.
In the north Peace – areas around La Crete and Fort Vermilion – harvest is completed, or nearly there.
“Most of what’s left now is canola but there’s still some wheat, barley and oats that was knocked down before the snow,” Wong said.
Specialty crops such as fescue and clover aren’t faring as well. “Fescue yields are below average and what there is just isn’t moving because of the economy,” said Wong. “There’s lots of fescue in the bins, the market is really soft. “
Clover and legumes aren’t doing any better, he said. Though Peace clover is coming in with good yields, the grass and legume market has just died, Wong said.
“Prices are falling and some producers aren’t reseeding because they’re not sure if they’re going to have cows next year.”
Wong says the Peace area is ahead of southern Alberta in harvesting operations. A boon to operators is the proliferation of bigger equipment. “Things have changed so much in the last five years,” he said. “Equipment has gotten so much bigger so quickly. It doesn’t take much time to knock off the acres, it’s not unheard of to take off 400 or 500 acres in a day.”