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The Ongoing Stress of #Harvest19 – Help is a click or call away OCT 30 2019 | Producers | Blog Post

The 2019 growing season and harvest will be one for the record books and not necessarily in a good way. A cooler than normal growing season coupled with below average moisture in early spring was experienced across most of Alberta. Some areas in the south were in their third or fourth season of drought conditions while areas of the southern Peace experienced one of the wettest seasons on record. Late season rains and a very cold fall delayed harvest and, for many farmers, the struggle continues.

As for pulse crops, yields are all over the map while prices remained below the five-year average due to ongoing market access issues with India. Pea yields again were variable, and lentils were around average, while faba beans are still in the field. Dry bean harvest was delayed significantly with a heavy early snowfall in September across the growing region. Chickpea growers saw some frost pockets in late May in southern Alberta and some acres were reseeded. The hashtag #Harvest19 on social media has been a depressing one to follow, not only here in Alberta, but across the Canadian Prairies and for our neighbours to the south.

The Alberta Pulse Growers continue to receive questions about safe storage of pulses. There are still some pockets of acres of peas and faba beans in the field that have yet to be harvested. With many aeration bins already filled or allocated to other crops, there have been questions about drying peas and fabas using conventional dryers. Additional information on storage and drying of pulses is available for growers below.

Stress levels remain high with crop still in the field or waiting to be conditioned to safe moisture levels for storage. APG employees can relate. “My family farm is in the same boat,” said Nevin Rosaasen, APG’s Policy and Program Specialist. “Many parts of Saskatchewan including our crop district are way behind schedule and now with snow, there will be crop left out, no doubt. Our area is used to running a large percentage of the crop through the dryer and as long as the propane delivery can keep up to demand, we should be done drying in the new year sometime.” Many families are experiencing burnout and stress and it is important to understand you are not alone.

APG’s Research Manager Dr. Jenn Walker and her family are keenly feeling the discouragement and frustration of this year as one third of their crop is yet to be harvested. “There’s a point where it feels like doesn’t matter how hard you work you will not reach that finish line. It impacts us all, even the kids feel the stress,” she commented.  “Absolutely every moment of your day is focused on can we or can we not combine, and how long can we safely keep it before we have to deal with it again.” We can all acknowledge that farming is not an easy profession, and it is always dependent on the weather, however, the reality of that vulnerability, especially in years such as this, weighs heavy.

APG staff are here to help. We are having the same debates and asking the same questions. If you have questions regarding aeration, safe drying temperatures, lifters on flat peas or anything related to this difficult harvest, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Even if you need to talk about the difficulties you are having, or have questions about research or agronomy, we would love to hear from you. When you are feeling stressed or burned out, pick up the phone, call a neighbour, a friend or seek professional help because we are all in this together.


Jenn Walker can be reached at 780-986-9398 extension 104 or on Twitter @APGResearch

Nevin Rosaasen can be reached at extension 780-986-9398 105 or on Twitter @APGExtension


Improved management of Pulse Crops – Technical details for aeration

Safe Storage of Pulse Crops

Drying of Pulse Crops


Additional Resources for Mental Health and Managing Stress

Clients having thoughts of suicide should call Health Link at 811 or the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The DoMoreAg foundation also has great resources available to take care of your mental health