Saskatchewan

December harvest of canola a first for Meadow Lake, Sask.-area farm

Hoping to complete harvest this weekend

Posted: December 09, 2016

It's rare to see a combine working a field in December. (Just Enjoy Photography/Facebook)

Kenian Skhopich is busy bringing in a crop, undeterred by the fact that the calendar says it is December — weeks past the usual time for end-of-season work.

"This is the first time I've ever combined [this late]," Skhopich said Thursday, adding he's never heard of anyone else bringing in a crop so late in the year. "It would be one of the first."

Skhopich is lending a hand to a couple of cousins harvesting a few fields of canola on their land near Meadow Lake, Sask., which is about 300 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

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The view from Kenian Skhopich's cab as he harvests a canola crop in December.  0:20

"Right now there's barely any snow in the fields and it's better to get it off, before leaving it until spring," Skhopich said. Their work has attracted attention in the area with many people stopping to take pictures and ask questions.

Some are wondering how the cold crop is responding to the harvesting action.

"You have some of it sticking to the ground, frozen. But other than that it's actually going through quite nice, no problems," Skhopich said. "Everything's going nice."

Like most farmers, the original goal was to harvest in the fall but a brief snowfall led to delays. The snow melted and there was an extended dry spell which allowed them to get back onto the land, even as cold weather came.

Machinery performing well

Despite the sub-zero weather, the cab of the combine is warm and comfortable and the equipment is performing as expected.

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"So far the machinery is standing up pretty nice, actually. We're having no problems whatsoever with it," he said.

With things progressing smoothly, Skhopich said he expects the work may be completed in the next few days — in time for Christmas.

"We're just about done," he added. "We're finishing up our last few fields. That's all we have left. Trying to get as much done before the snow comes."

He said it has been an experience they don't want to repeat, next year. But, as farmers, they know they have to contend with pretty much anything.

"We just do the best we can … and hope for the best," he said.

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend