From snow to harvest, Alberta farmers pull through

Sep 19, 2014

By Amanda Brodhagen,

Not too long ago, Southern Alberta had its first taste of winter - a blast of snow in the second week of September.

It wasn’t a pretty sight, or at least for this time of year, especially for farmers who were in the midst of harvest or ready to jump into their combines to start the long haul of taking off the crops. Prior to the snowstorm, many farmers were harvesting in 20 C weather, consequently the snow was a bit of a shock. Only about 13 per cent of Alberta’s crop had been harvested when the snow fell on September 8th.

Farmers say that the rare early September snowstorm that flattened crops will make harvest tough. The storm crushed fields, which will make it hard for combines to get at the crops since harvesting equipment will be running slower in order to salvage as much of the crop as they can. Thankfully things have warmed up a bit since the snow fall, allowing farmers to get back to what they do best – harvesting.

While things are looking brighter, there will likely be some economic consequences to the earlier than normal snowy weather. The quality of the crops won’t be as good as they once were, which means farmers will get a lower return on their grain. That coupled with paying farm workers additional hours to run farm equipment to harvest often thousands of acres in a relevantly short period of time.  But farmers aren’t left with much of a choice, the crops eventually have to come off.

Brandon Gibb, owner and operator of R&B Gibb Farms Ltd. tweeted (@rbgibbfarms) on Sept. 17th about the harvest progress. “A week ago this field was under snow, now we are finally combining it #harvest14 #fromthefield,” he said in a tweet. Gibb who is from Hillspring, AB, frequently includes the #fromthefield hashtag in his tweets, to report what is happening in the field. The tweet refers to the photos below: