County of Stettler farmers manage harvest, despite troublesome season

County of Stettler farmers manage harvest, despite troublesome season

Grain growth and yields impacted during 2019 harvest

By Jessica Jones

For the Independent

While the winter season appears to be in full swing, it was only a couple of weeks ago that farmers in the County of Stettler were working against Mother Nature’s ticking time bomb to harvest their crops.

Quinton Beaumont, County of Stettler assistant director of operations, says moisture reserves this year were slightly higher than normal in the County, but it didn’t compare to Leduc County and Lac St. Anne County. Those neighbouring counties declared an agricultural disaster from excessive moisture.

“Harvest numbers are sitting about 97 per cent complete,” Beaumont said. “Very little crop was not harvested.”

But while farmers were able to harvest their crops, a lot of the grain was reduced in quality due to the cold and wet growing season.

“A lot of the grain came off tough,” Beaumont said. “There was a lot of grain drying and low protein content on account of the cold weather,” he said, noting that harvest was also stalled for weeks across the province.

Despite harvest not being impacted as much in the County of Stettler, many crops, such as canola, wheat, barley, and peas, were damaged due to the storms.

This resulted in reduced yields, Beaumont explained.

“Many fields were wrote off and harvested for feed in the way of swath and bale,” he said, mentioning that farmers should watch their grain bins as to not let “tough grain” overheat.

“Stored livestock feed should be tested for nutrient levels, as protein and other nutrient levels in feed harvested during 2019 are lower than previous years.”