Ross Ravelli, owner of Ravelli Farms Ltd. located just outside of Dawson Creek city limits, said the warm weather over the last week has allowed him to get quite a bit of his crops of the fields already.
“It (canola) really suffered from the excessive moisture this year, but the barley and wheat that I have taken off are probably near-record yields – the best we’ve seen in ten years, for sure – and the quality is still up there, so fingers crossed, the cereals will make up for the lack of yield in canola.”
He said he seeded 1,400 acres of canola and 900 acres of wheat and barley this year. He said he is expecting about 60 to 75 per cent of what an average yield for canola would have been over the last 10 years, but he is seeing about a 50 per cent increase in the yields for wheat and barley over what an average yield would be. He added he has heard from a number of farmers experiencing the same results.
“I’m hearing some astronomical numbers out there for what people are getting (in cereal crop yields),” he said.
Ravelli said it has been an odd harvest so far because the cloudy, cool weather for much of the last few weeks has meant crops are not maturing the way he expected. He said normally he would be taking the cereal crops of first, but this year he has been forced to switch back and forth between canola and cereals.
“It has been a little bit of a struggle this year to find fields to combine,” he said.
However, he said he is about halfway done combining, and if the sunny, windy weather holds up, he expects to be done by the second week of October. He said those conditions are ideal for storage as well, because if farmers run out of room in their bins, they can always let the crops dry in the fields.
He added that although prices traditionally fall this time of year in response to the increase in supply as crops are harvested around the world, they are still relatively high for wheat and barley.
It has been one extreme to the other for farmers in this region, as they’ve had to deal with several years of dry summers, including a severe drought last year, followed by record rainfall events this summer.
“We’ve had five years of exceptionally dry weather, and then to all of a sudden flip it over this year and go to a record rainfall has just been amazing,” said Ravelli.
“We have to be pretty happy with what is going on,” he added. “On the harvest side, everything is progressing well and the markets are strong, so it should be a profitable year for farmers, and certainly we needed that after the last five years of drought. There was a lot of hurt out there for farmers.”
He said hopefully with some money back in their pockets they can invest that back into their farms by making equipment purchases they might have been holding off on.
Outside of harvesting, he added it should be an interesting year for farmers in the West with regards to the pending changes to the Canadian Wheat Board.
“I think it’s going to be a very positive change, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with that next year,” he said. “I don’t want to lose the Canadian Wheat Board, but if it does happen it’s only because of their lack of efforts and their stubbornness against change.”