This bad-weather summer has been good for Central Alberta crops. (Advocate file photo).

Central Alberta farmers need a long, warm, dry fall

A late harvest is predicted, but area crops are doing well

At least the crops are happy with the cool, rainy summer.

While many central Albertans have described this supposedly hot season as the worst in recent memory, downpours have created some lush growth in fields, said Cody McIntosh, agricultural service manager of the County of Red Deer.

“The crops are doing very well — the only thing is they are not maturing quickly,” he added.

McIntosh estimates that most are one week to 1 1/2 weeks behind where they should be, due to lack of sun and warmth.

But he hasn’t heard that recent hail in the Innisfail area did appreciable crop damage.

And grasshopper numbers, while a little higher than usual, are still on the low side in our area, said McIntosh.

The most important thing, at this point, is a long, warm fall with little humidity to dry out the grains.

McIntosh said central Alberta farmers will be harvesting later than usual this year because of delayed crop growth, so it would be ideal if the snow holds off until at least mid-October.

Some long-term forecasts have been calling for a September snowfall for the most populous parts of the province — but those predictions don’t always pan out.

McIntosh said, “We definitely don’t want a repeat of last year,” when winter came early.

If there are high yields in canola, they could be met with low prices because of China’s imposed trade ban on the Canadian product.

McIntosh said if this ban continues into next year, some local canola farmers will likely decide to grow something else. In the meantime, some of the canola over-supply could be crushed into oil, he added.

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