Late harvest: Manitoba farmers plagued by poor weather

Manitoba farmers are frustrated after a summer of extremes has left them with little or no harvest.

Manitoba farmers fed up with extreme weather worry about late harvest

Manitoba farmers are frustrated after a summer of extremes has left them with little or no harvest.

A cold, late spring coupled with brutal flooding in southern Manitoba put crops underwater and harvest behind schedule.

Then, a near drought put another strain on farmers and an already strained crop.

Eventually rain came, but now, without at least three weeks of warm, dry weather, farmers will be harvesting even later.

Westman farmer Kyle Cochrane said he’s not even close to beginning his harvest this year.

“We haven’t even thought about it yet,” said Cochrane. “We’re probably a good two weeks to a month from seeing any harvest that’s going to happen in our area.”

Despite that, he said he feels fortunate to have any crop at all.

Close to two million acres of farmland went unseeded or were lost to rain and flood waters this year.

Compared to the record yields of 2013, Statistics Canada is predicting wheat production in Manitoba will be down 35 per cent this year. Canola is forecast to dip 20 per cent and oats will go down by 32 per cent.

Manitoba farmers could have a close-to-average yield in 2014, but only if they can get it harvested. 

Like Cochrane, Ron Krahn, who farms near the R.M. of Rivers, Man. northwest of Brandon is predicting a lower harvest, too.

Harvest should be in full swing for Krahn but he's only combined 120 of 5,000 acres of crop

"I know if you go north of us where there are higher elevations their crop is much further behind even than ours is."

Cochrane’s wheat fields are still a few weeks away from harvest, but if he doesn’t get the good weather he needs to make that happen, the next threat will be frost.

“An early frost at this point would mean a lot of these crops would not amount to very much,” he said. “[This year] is very challenging. It’s definitely one we will remember.”