Snow Plagues Canadian Farmers In The Heat Of Harvest

Canada farmers received an early snow this season. ( Jerome Isaac )

While farmers in the U.S. boast their near-completion of 2018 wheat harvest, farmers in Canada look in envy. Earlier this week, Mother Nature dumped 6” of snow in northwest Alberta while farmers were trying to get crops into the bin.

“It’s not unheard of for us to get snow during harvest, but it’s exceptional to get this amount,” says Jerome Isaac, who grows hard red spring wheat, canola and yellow field pears in Alberta, Canada. “Yesterday we got about six inches of snow and it hasn’t melted.”

Harvest is at a standstill, and he has about 90% of his crops yet to get out of the field. Fortunately, most of the season was favorable for the crops and he still anticipates high yields. Still, harvest will be slow due to lodged fields and excess moisture.

“In late summer we had a couple weeks of incredible smoke cover from wildfires that blocked the sun and stalled the crop,” Isaac says. “So, we were already harvesting 10 days later than normal. Add an early snowfall on top of that and harvest is really delayed here.”

On his farm he needs about a month of good weather, taking into account shorter days, to get his crops in the bin. While he’s used to snowfall during harvest, this early of precipitation is uncommon and will make the rest of the season challenging.

“But, farmers in every region face challenges that are tough for that area,” he says. “Farmers adapt to challenges and overcome them.”

C: Jerome Isaac
C: Jerome Isaac