The 2019 harvest is shaping up to be frustrating for most. It’s no secret that harvest is well behind this year, with only 34% of crops being combined in Alberta (47% 3-yr avg), 47% in Saskatchewan (75% 3-yr avg), and 71% in Manitoba (85% 3-yr avg) as of last week. Wet weather has plagued the prairies, with record rainfall in Manitoba and snowfall in southern Alberta & Saskatchewan in September. A combination of high moisture levels and widespread crop damage has contributed to diminished grade.
It’s now a race to get remaining crops off the field and although we can’t control the weather, we can help you maintain the grade of your grain by getting it dried faster and limiting spoilage. The most effective option is a NECO dryer from Flaman, which can be scaled to the size of your operation. However, dryer installs are contingent on many environmental and logistical factors and it’s far from a guarantee that a dryer purchased today would be installed before the end of harvest.
So, what does a farmer do if he or she can’t get a dryer installed in time?
Our team in Saskatchewan has heard a lot of stories from our customers who’ve resorted to unconventional methods to dry their grain. The overwhelming favourite by local farmers has been the Frost Fighter (available only at our Saskatchewan locations), which is a diesel-powered 350,000 BTU industrial heater designed to heat remote construction sites and shops. As it turns out, they are also easily adaptable to a bin aeration system and can pump heat into two bins simultaneously. It’s been a lifeline given the soggy conditions.
Kelly Stewart, the operations manager at our Flaman Moosomin location, was the man who made this idea a reality:
“I saw a video a couple years ago of an Alberta farmer using a similar method and he claimed it worked like a charm. It inspired me to try it out given how wet it’s been this year. Some local farmers put it to work and were extremely pleased with the results. It’s not a perfect solution and we know it’s not recommended by the manufacturers, but desperate times have forced us to think outside the box.
With a little extra work, moving your grain around and monitoring your moisture levels closely, we’ve heard from many happy customers that have seen up to 30,000 BU dried in a week. Obviously, the best way to dry your grain is with a dryer but given how wet it’s been and with more precipitation in the forecast, this has been a great makeshift way to salvage what has been a tough harvest.”
Interested in learning more about grain drying? Talk to one of our agriculture specialists at your nearest Flaman location.
APAS said it's anyone’s guess whether it will reach the record-setting levels farmers experienced in 2013 (38.4 million tonnes, according to Statistics Canada), but either way, APAS president Norm Hall wants rail companies to be ready. “If you remember three years ago when we had the potential of a huge crop, and turned out to be the largest crop on record, the railroads used the excuse that oh, we didn’t know this was coming, we weren’t prepared for it,” explained Hall in an interview with News Talk Radio.
So, APAS is asking the railroads to be ready to handle the grain - but they are the end of the system - the system begins with farmers?
Are farmers ready to harvest the crop within the small window of opportunity presented by crop development and the weather.
Are the combine(s) fast enough? Are there enough trucks ready to move the grain to a bin or bagging area? Maybe the ground is wet, so is a grain cart ready to move the grain off the field towards a truck, bin, or bagging area? Is the bagger ready with enough bags? Are the transfers, augers or conveyors able to quickly unload the grain and move it, which allows for the combine to keep moving without having to wait for unloading?
And after moving the grain by rail, are the ports and ships ready?
APAS has put rail on notice, but what about the rest of the system?
Mitch Flaman ...
A few weeks ago when I started this blog entry, I was excited to report that agriculture equipment dealerships were approaching sold-out inventory levels and already delivering machinery to numerous producers province-wide. It was actually a bittersweet situation getting stuck on a secondary highway behind a semi hauling a combine for 16 miles with no option to pass. But, on the other hand, it was exciting to know that harvest was just around the corner. Needless to say, a few weeks later harvest is now in full swing and farmers are going hard....
Southern Saskatchewan 2011 harvest is under way! The combines are rolling through peas and lentils in most of the areas that I have seen. The crops are looking above average in most areas of the south, after a rainfall of 25 to 30 inches in the south last year it is not hard to compare the quality of this year’s crop. Pea acres seem to be down substantially this year compared to recent years, after seeing what the quality of the peas are this year, this may be a tough pill for some farmers to swallow especially if the price continues to rise. The lentil quality also looks very good this year, after the European’s declared no glyphosate on lentils I have seen a few more lentil acres being swathed this year. Canola is being swathed daily and more and more acres are down every day, the canola crop’s look very good in southern Saskatchewan this year, which is a different look this year due to the fact that you would not usually see so many canola acres in Southern Saskatchewan, But with last year’s chem.-fallow acres very high it set farmers up well for a large canola year. Wheat and durum are slowly behind in some spots I have seen; staging anywhere from seeing wheat being swathed to wheat that still needs 3-4 weeks frost free weather to avoid another feed wheat year. As long as we can keep that white combine away, I would say that the 2011 crop year will be a very successful year in most areas of the South that did not drown out in June....