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Sunday , 27 September 2020
Harvest - A farmer combines in a field north of St. Vincent in the County of St. Paul.

Harvest starts well in County of St. Paul

Harvest in the County of St. Paul has started, but just barely according to agriculture fieldman Keith Kornelsen.

He said the farmers are combining the earlier crops like field peas right now.

“They’re just starting to swathe the canola, it will be ready next. It’ll be a couple of weeks before they’re combining that. I think in many cases the wheat and the barley are maybe a week or so away still,” said Kornelsen.

“Other counties around us have had too much excess water and crops have drowned out but here we’ve had a good year and a lot of the crops look like they’ll be very good,” he said.

Kornelsen noted that hotter and windier weather will help the crops to dry and harden off quicker, but said the long range forecast, which is clear of frost, looks promising.

“Frost can damage canola if it comes too early. At this point they’re just starting to cut, once they cut generally it’s pretty safe. I think we’ll get past that danger this year,” said Kornelsen.

The long range forecast for St. Paul has highs between 12 and 15 degrees Celsius and lows between 5 and 8 degrees.

According to Kornelsen, roughly a third of the croppable land in the County of St. Paul has canola growing on it, another third is wheat, and the remainder is a mix of oats, field peas, hemp, and other specialty crops.

There is also a significant amount of pasture in the county.

“We did have some excess moisture this year but I think that really helped the pastures and I think most people got their hay off this year too so there’s lots of that,” said Kornelsen.

Clubroot numbers dropping

According to Kornelsen, the County of St. Paul’s annual clubroot survey is wrapping up and the number of fields with clubroot has dropped considerably since 2017.

“There’s been wide acceptance of using clubroot resistant varieties of canola in our area, the farmers have really adapted well,” said Kornelsen.

Clubroot is a disease that causes galls to form on the roots of cruciferous plants like canola, mustard, and cabbage, preventing the plants from receiving sufficient nutrients and water. It causes stunted growth and reduced yields of affected crops.

Kornelsen said ten fields tested positive for clubroot this year, which is the same number as in 2019.

“When we find the clubroot they get a pest notice that says no canola for two or three years. The fields we found it in last year we checked this year to make sure. So they were different fields, but typically we’re finding them in the St. Paul and St. Bride’s area where the better cropland is with more canola,” said Kornelsen.

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.