Warm spell raises hopes as Canadian farmers race to finish harvest

Mon Nov 7, 2016 2:08pm EST
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Unusually warm temperatures in Western Canada are raising farmers' hopes of a strong finish to a growing season of highs and lows, easing investors' worries about the late harvest.

Summer-like weather in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the two biggest wheat and canola-growing provinces in Canada - a top global exporter of both crops - allowed farmers to resume harvesting on the weekend after delays from last month's snow.

"I hope I can get it done, or most of it anyhow," said Laramie Eyben on harvesting his remaining 1,400 acres (567 hectares) of spring wheat and canola. It looked like a longshot last week because of adverse weather.

Eyben and his neighbors at Vermilion, Alberta, logged 18-hour days harvesting 600 acres of his canola before rain temporarily shut them down.

Eyben's canola could be one of his best-yielding crops ever, thanks to extra moisture, but quality may be spotty. His late-harvested wheat will sell at a steep discount.

"Try to learn and adapt, that's what farmers do," Eyben said.

Farmers may gather up more than 90 percent of Alberta's harvest by next weekend, up from 76 percent as of Nov. 1, government crop specialist Harry Brook said.

Canola quality has fared well since its seeds are insulated in pods, but cereals such as wheat face price penalties due to moisture damage, he said.   Continued...

Tara Giles operates a combine as she harvests wheat on a 160-acre field located south of High River, Alberta, September 28, 2013.  REUTERS/Mike Sturk/File Photo