Record crop did not materialize as harvest concludes

Agriculture: Harvest ‘disappointing’ after optomistic year, says expert

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Thursday, Oct 11, 2012 03:23 pm

Blackie-area farmer Allan Spengler checks out the crop from this year's harvest. After predictions showed potential for a bumper crop the harvest was disappointing in many areas.
Blackie-area farmer Allan Spengler checks out the crop from this year's harvest. After predictions showed potential for a bumper crop the harvest was disappointing in many areas.
Don Patterson/OWW

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Strong yields, high prices and for most Foothills farmers the crop is in the bin concluding what has been a good harvest, but not the bumper year many expected.

Blackie-area farmer Allan Spengler finished his harvest in the last week of September capping off what has been a positive season.

“It was a very good harvest for me,” he said.

It may not be the windfall year many were expecting, but harvest 2012 is shaping up to be a good one for foothills farmers.

Spengler said his wheat crop could have been phenomenal, but still ended up above average, while his canola, barley and peas were all average. A little more moisture would have made it better.

“The wheat wasn’t a total bumper because we needed more rain in July, but it was a very good crop,” he said. “It could have been just huge.”

Spengler had higher expectations for his canola crop, but heat and lack of moisture impacted the crop.

While he’s capping off a strong year, he said he feels for neighbours who are ending the season on a different note after seeing poor weather and hail storms damage their crops.

Spengler said he now hopes to see a lot of moisture before he starts up again in the spring.

“We’re dry now, it hasn’t rained much here,” he said.

It’s a similar story for Okotoks-area farmer Mike Imler, but he’s still working in the fields.

Imler has about 2,500 acres of canola left to harvest, a job he said would take just over a week to complete. Warm weather in September helped get the harvest done, he said.

He too said he had an above average year, but a little more moisture would have made a significant difference.This sound repetitive

“Yields have been pretty decent, but nothing spectacular,” he said. “I think it got a little too hot and dry through the summer. We needed more rain in July.”

Like Spangler Imler saidLike Spengler his canola crop was down this year.

Despite a decent harvest, a provincial crop specialist said 2012 may be remembered2012? as a disappointing year, considering the optimism many had earlier this year.

Harry Brook, with the Alberta Ag-info centre, he said there was a lot of optimism about the stars aligning for this year’s harvest.

Crops were looking good, especially compared to other parts of North America, which were mired in drought. Prices are up, in part because of the drought.

However, Brook said a variety of factors combined to bring about a different end to the season.

“The crop growth was sufficient there to sustain a much higher yield if it wasn’t for all these other factorsNeed end quotes ,” he explained. “That said, it’s still going to be a good year.”

Brook added Alberta’s harvest will end up being aBe? verage and although commodity prices are excellent, it won’t be the financial windfall many farmers had expectedrepetitive and hoped would materialize.

“It just means that instead of having that once in a lifetime bonanza yield and price, they’re ending up with an average crop with very good prices,” he said.


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