'Worst crop since 88': Sask. farmers facing tough harvest
After scorching temperatures this past summer, farmers are wrapping up their harvest with the majority of them facing lower than expected yields.
Kevin Hursh farms northeast of Swift Current and said he expects this year's drought to have a huge impact on his crop.
“This is the worst crop since 1988 and in many ways this was a worse year than 1988," Hursh said.
Hursh said the extreme heat played a significant role in his reduced yield. His farm was short on several of their contracts.
"You contract the first 10 bushels per acre at a price and you think 'well if we produce a half or a third, that’s safe,'" Hursh said. "In some cases, we were less than that, and we’re actually buying back some of the contracts to have seed for next year on a couple of contracts."
The Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) says 75 per cent of its producers have completed their 2021 harvest, with the remaining wrapping up over the next few days. The overwhelming majority of its members are reporting below-average yields.
"There are areas of the province where yields were 10-15 per cent of average and in some cases the crops were not even worth harvesting," said APAS vice president Bill Prybylski. "Overall average, we’re probably looking at 30-40 per cent decrease in yields provincewide."
Several of those members are looking at significant penalties for not being able to meet the requirements for their contracts, Prybylski said.
For producers like Hursh, the pain won’t end at the end of the 2021. He tells CTV News he's expecting to face higher costs down the road.
"Very high fertilizer, seed prices will be very high going into next year. When you look at very little soil moisture and the large investment you’ll need to make into growing next year's crop, that becomes worrisome," Hursh said.
An AgriRecovery was launched a few weeks ago to help livestock producers as well as modifications to the AgraStability program which Prybylski says will help a few producers through the challenging time.
"It’s going to take a coordinated effort from all levels of government and the industry to help producers get through this.”