October snow could push harvest into Spring 2020

It has been a very challenging growing season and for some farmers it may not end until next spring.

The southeast and east-central areas have the most crop on the field, but it’s not confined to one specific region.

“If we don’t see the weather warm up significantly, I think it is going to be very difficult to get that off,” said Lane Stockbrugger, who farms at Englefeld and is chair of SaskCanola. “Having said that, you hear from some of the older farmers who have done a lot of harvest during the month of November. So, it’s hard to say whether or not we will be able to get back in the field and finish off that harvest that has dragged on for so many farmers.”

The last Saskatchewan Agriculture weekly crop report estimated 83% of the provincial crop had been combined as of Monday, October 21. Good progress was made for most of last week until the snow and cold arrived later on the weekend. A new estimate will be released on Thursday morning.

Stockbrugger says if the weather improves, combining is possible—but it won’t be easy.

“What happens is that the combine starts to freeze up on the inside. Sieves are frozen and you have to thaw them out day after day. It is a slow struggle and that’s assuming (the crop) is in the swath. I think if it’s straight-cut, that makes it almost impossible to harvest it this fall,” he said.

A few farmers have tweeted pictures of combining in the snow, but they tend to only have a few acres remaining and just wanted to get the job done.

Combining in the spring presents its own set of challenges such as field conditions, time constraints and wildlife damage caused over the winter.

An estimated 1,000,000 acres of 2016 Saskatchewan crop remained in the field and had to be combined the following spring.


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