FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With the first crops set to come out of the earth in the next couple of weeks, farmers will get an idea of what the growing season was like in the Peace.
Kelly Kassian, manager of Viterra Fort St. John, says farmers enjoyed an excellent spring season, but they missed out on some “timely rains” and had to contend with the heat dome in June.
“The hot weather may have hurt the crop a little bit, but I think the smoke in the air kind of saved us from the direct sunlight for sure,” said Kassian.
While it likely won’t be a bumper crop like the season was shaping up to be, Kassian says a good spring season may have helped crops through the hot, dry June.
“Depending on the weather, that third or fourth week of August looks like we’ll be seeing some peas and barley get taken off. That’s when we’ll be able to tell how the season went, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad.”
The four major crops grown in the Peace region include the staple prairie crops of wheat, oats, barley and canola. But, according to the City of Dawson Creek, 90 per cent of dry peas produced in B.C. come from the Peace, as well as 95 per cent of forage seeds.
As for when to pull crops out of the ground, Kassian says every farmer has their own methods of determining the right time.
“They get out there and check the moisture of the grain and the amount of green kernels in it. There are different standards, so they’re constantly checking. Everybody kind of starts seeding at the same time, so crops develop fairly close together. Once someone gets going, everybody else is close behind.”
While parts of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan may be beginning their harvest, Kassian hopes the weather holds on.
“Hopefully, with good weather our guys get it off fairly quickly and in good shape, and we’ll get the harvest done. The main thing is, they get it off, and they’re all safe doing it.”