Harvest is now underway in Red Deer County, having started slightly later than usual, according to agriculture services manager Art Preachuk.
He attributes the later start to inclement weather earlier in the year, which lasted longer than many in the area had hoped.
“Because it was still snowing at the end of April, and with the cold weather, things didn’t start off as quick in May, and the dampness and the rain we’ve had through May, June and July doesn’t lend to an early harvest,” he said.
Nonetheless, conditions are still “pretty good”, he maintained.
“I don’t think anybody’s complaining about it, it’s never perfect.”
Preachuk said a lack of moisture last September led to a non-stop harvest, which resulted in the fatigue of many farmers.
“That’s what you need for harvest, good conditions without fighting the rains and tough straw and getting stuck.”
He described this year as being a “pretty lacklustre year”, with some crops receiving damage from hail, winds and moisture from diseases. Expecting the unexpected, however, can go a long way in battling potentially threatening conditions.
“You never know what’s going to hit you, and the only thing you can bank on is it’s not going to be the same as last year,” said Preachuk. “Then it’s a matter of staying ahead of things and scouting your fields and knowing what’s developing. Then you can make the assessment of whether or not to take action on a bug or disease or whatever it might be.”
Scouting and monitoring fields and being aware of certain conditions can create a better chance to identify potential harms and dangers, according to Preachuk. Doing so, he feels, is much better than waiting until the end of the season and trying to, at that point, determine what went wrong.
“That’s a lot harder, and you can’t do anything about it,” he said. “You’ve got to be on it and be looking for things that are unusual, and be ready to expect anything.”