As rain pours over Saskatchewan, some crop farmers say it’s a little too late.
In Shellbrook, about 130 kilometers north of Saskatoon, Kerry Peterson runs a 6,000 acre operation. He said the 30-degree heat along with gusting winds thinned out what he planted this year.
“You’ll see the crop is a lot shorter, they headed a little sooner than they should’ve, which gives you smaller heads maybe even less weight. The canola that was flowering in that time would get heat blasted,” Peterson said. “It was just too dry for too long.”
During the wildfire season when communities like Montreal Lake Cree Nation, Weyakwin and La Ronge were evacuated, the smoke that blew south actually gave his crops some relief, despite the deteriorating air quality.
“The smoke from up north helped us for a week previous; even with how uncomfortable it was, it kept the temperature down six to eight degrees which helped the crop survive. But it did take a toll,” Peterson said.
While farmers across Saskatchewan prayed for a few rainy days, what some of them got was hail that ended up causing more damage to the fragile, unprotected crop.
“We had a hail storm come through here just before the storm hit Kerrobert,” Peterson said. “We had three quarter sections of canola that was hailed out and our neighbours got hit as well.”
A historic drought along with extreme weather have taken a toll on Peterson’s farm, and he’s expecting a much lower yield this harvest season compared to last year.
“Having not been in them yet, I’d say they’re going to be 30 per cent less and there will be areas in the province that will be a lot less than that because they were harder hit by the drought,” he said.
Peterson added he won’t really know the extent of the damage until he hops on the combine.
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