While it doesn’t apply that much in the Peace Region, the province wide claim for lost crops this year has been placed at $7.5 million.
That’s less than half of the ten year average, and it’s a far cry from what was anticipated in mid-summer when southern areas of the province were dealing with drought conditions and farmers were fearing the worst.
Overall yields were down but University of the Fraser Valley agriculture expert Tom Bauman concedes the losses weren’t as severe as earlier anticipated.
He attributes that to the fact some fruit crops in the drought hit region surprisingly acclimatized to the heat, and also that, many failed crops weren’t insurable.
In this area, Kelly Kassian of Richardson Pioneer says, despite below average precipitation in all of the traditionally heaviest rainfall months of June, July and August, local yields this fall were close to the area norm.
As reported earlier, harvest operations were repeatedly interrupted in September when there were ten daily posts of measurable rain even though six of them were less than three millimetres, and four of those less than one.
Largely due to 42.6 millimetres on the second, the full month post was 75, a total normally recorded by the local airport weather station, only in July.
However, over 90 per cent of it this year was posted in the first 13 days the month, and with the canola crop harvest hanging in the balance, farmers took advantage of the drier second half of September — combined with double digits highs, on all but four of the next forty days, beginning on the 14th — and got the job done.