Farmers wrap up harvest for the year

September 25, 2023, 3:54 pm
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A farmer south of Fairlight cuts through a field as Harvest 2023 continues. Many farmers say the crop is coming in better than expected after a challenging year. A Kevin Weedmark photo.

With fall being around the corner, most farmers across Southeast Saskatchewan are close to finishing harvest for the year.

“Harvest is going pretty good. The days are quite a bit shorter now, it’s usually a bit wet and dew in the morning” said Murray Bruce who farms near Moosomin.

“Of course we’ve lost a bit of our daylight hours. There’s not quite long of days as we used to have, it’s taken a little bit longer.

“We have canola yield, as long as we can keep all of the iron running things are going pretty good.”

Bruce said he plans to finish harvest in the next few weeks, and is pleased with how his canola and wheat have done.

“We’re likely two-thirds done, it all depends on mother nature,” Bruce said laughing.

“The crops are looking surprisingly well with the little rain we had in July. We had a good reserve of moisture last fall so the crops must have rooted deep and did surprisingly well.

“We’re going to need some recharge this fall, or early next spring, some rain to get the reserve moisture back up again. The ground is pretty tapped out right now, it will need a little recharging between now and seeding time next year.”

Bruce said the biggest challenge he faced during this year’s season were the unexpected rainfalls.

“As soon as we pulled the combines out of the shed we started getting those little showers of rain so that stops us, usually, for a couple of days,” he said.

“Every time it rains, it does downgrade the wheat a little bit, and takes a bit of weight away from the seed. That would likely be the biggest challenge.”

“Farming is very much mother nature oriented, so if she’s good to us we usually have a good year. Our business is very weather dependent.”

Farmer in Esterhazy says harvest has been going well
Harvest is expected to be finished by early October, said Kevin Hruska, who farms in the Esterhazy, Gerald, Lagenburg, and Bredenbury areas.

“We’re over the half way mark, we’re well into our canola. There’s been several rain delays, but we got our wheat done in pretty good time,” said Hruska.

“The canola, we’re rushing it. Canola is delayed a bit this year with the later rains and little showers, it’s not too detrimental. We needed to by sometime anyways.

“We need seven working days of harvest and then we’ll be done.”

With the rainfalls at harvest, Hruska said the rain does not have the same impact on canola than it does on wheat.

“Moisture and drizzle on canola doesn’t get damaged as much as grain does,” he said.

“Canola is an oilseed, it doesn’t deteriorate in drizzle or rainy events as much as cereal grain does. The pressure is sort of off because a few rains doesn’t deteriorate your quality.”

Given the dry weather conditions over the summer, Hruska said the crops are looking better than expected.

“I would say the yields are closer to average than a good, poor crop. I would say I’m speaking for everyone that the yields are slightly higher than expected with the amount of rain we got,” he said.

“They’re a little better than I thought, you need an excellent crop to make good money or a bumper crop. An average crop hardly makes you much money now with the expenses, but that’s farming. That’s been all my life like that.

“So far it’s been a relatively smooth harvest, weather is the biggest challenge for harvest, I think, for most farmers, and this year, so far, the weather hasn’t been too hard for us.”

Crops are in good shape in the RM of Martin
A farmer in the RM of Martin, Steven Donald, said he is surprised with the condition his crops are in, based on the lack of rain in southeast Saskatchewan this summer.

“As far as combining, we’re pleasantly surprised for the lack of moisture for what we have now,” he said.

“For me, the biggest challenge all boiled down to the weather, but at the same time this year was stressful in a way, but it wasn’t as stressful as last year, simply because we weren’t getting the storms.

“The storm season is stressful and when we missed all of those, so it takes the stress off, in my opinion.

“Even worrying about if we should be spraying fungicide or not, it was one of those things that it was so dry, whether you did or didn’t, I don’t know if it made a difference.

“It’s always weather related on our end of things that would be the most challenging.”

Compared to last year’s harvest season, Donald said his farmland received too much moisture last summer, whereas this year, it was the complete opposite.

“Last year we were unfortunate on our end of things because we just got hammered with storms,” said Donald.

“This year we didn’t get any of that, and we were lucky enough to get just a few rains at the right time. There was no real bad weather instances we had to worry about, no hail or the stuff we can’t control, but it is nice to have some rain.”

Donald said he should be finished harvest by the end of this week.

“We need about four to five good days to finish,” he said,

“Harvest this year has been pretty uneventful. The weather did keep us from going when we wanted to go, but as far as getting the crop off in condition in deep condition we’re very happy this year.

“We’ll be getting some spraying done now, we’re ready to get on with our fall jobs. All that fun stuff before the bails role and the cows come home from the pasture.”