Bumper crop for Manitoba farms 0
Dugald area farmer Edgar Scheurer examines his wheat crop Aug. 16, 2012. (BRIAN DONOGH/Winnipeg Sun)
By Joyanne Pursaga
Record-high commodity prices and good quality wheat have many Manitoba farmers expecting strong sales this year.
Keystone Agricultural Producers shared the good news about the 2012 crop and reflected on farmers' contributions to Manitoba's economy at a harvest event Monday in Winnipeg.
Those at the event, including Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn, were invited to check out a hopper full of hard white spring wheat, which yielded over 50 bushels per acre at a record price of nearly $9 a bushel.
"The buzz in the agriculture industry is the remarkable confluence of good yields and excellent prices," said Doug Chorney, KAP president. "We do have record high commodity prices, so that's generally always a good thing."
Chorney said farmers need these profits to offset last year's losses.
"We're really optimistic this is going to be a real recovery year for farmers after 2011, when 25 per cent of farmland went unseeded."
Chorney says good weather conditions played a key role in helping his own wheat receive a No. 1 grade (the highest available). Growing seasons plagued by heavy rains can reduce the value of wheat by up to 50 per cent, he said.
Manitoba Agriculture found wheat yields have been within the average range overall this year, with a good quality that bodes well for farmers.
Unfortunately, not every crop fared as well.
The first round of harvested canola had a lower quality than expected, partly due to damage from extreme heat in July. Flooding in the Assiniboine River Valley also looks set to create a tougher year for producers in that area. And in the pork sector, low prices and high feed cost have farmers concerned, Chorney added.
Mild weather allowed crops to be seeded much earlier than normal this spring, leading to an early harvest and high expectations. Chorney said seeding was particularly early this spring, which allowed wheat to mature early.
"Some farmers were out on the fields seeding in March, which is unheard of," he said.
"Earlier seeded crops seed better than late. Your yield potential declines each week after you seed late."
Prior to this year, Chorney doesn't know of any farmers who seeded that early since the 1930s.
He said a related early harvest date will allow producers to lessen the risk of damage from extreme weather late in the growing season.
"It's always a good thing to have crops in early," said Chorney. "Typically with an earlier season, the crops will yield better."
Pam Derocquigny, a Manitoba Agriculture cereal crop specialist, said farmers reported harvesting winter wheat during the week of July 9 - the earliest she's seen in five years on the job.
It's unclear if the harvest date is the earliest on record since the department doesn't keep that data.