WESTERN CANADA: 2018 Harvest
For many in the western provinces, this has been a wet and snowy fall, creating serious challenges for farmers to get their crops off the fields for harvest.
A wet harvest can deteriorate or destroy an otherwise strong crop year, affecting crop quality and farm revenue. A wet crop also leads to an extended use of grain dryers fuelled by propane, and as CPA members in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba can attest, all have been busy keeping up with the additional demand this season.
Demand for propane to fuel grain dryers was two and a half times greater this year compared to an average harvest season. The CPA has been in close contact with agricultural groups and governments in each of the prairie provinces to assure them member companies are doing what is necessary to meet demand and keep grain dryers running.
Member companies have been working seven days a week for the maximum allowable hours on the road, delivering and refilling product. In north of Saskatoon, SK where it was extremely wet, demand at times exceeded the industry’s distribution capacity, although good weather during the last few weeks is helping to alleviate this pressure.
The CPA has discussed potential solutions with governments when issues such as this arise, including an agricultural emergency declaration to temporarily lift restrictions on the hours of service regulations. In this scenario, companies would be required to hire and train new drivers – which some companies have already been doing to meet demand. As always, safety is a top priority; if this type of solution were to be enacted, many checks and balances would be required. And if hour of service regulations were relaxed in a province, a company would be required to apply for an exemption before it would be granted.
The CPA’s goal is to support members and their customers in this vital sector and will continue to monitor the situation and determine next steps as necessary. For any questions or concerns about the fall harvest in Western Canada please contact Darren Cunningham, CPA Western Regional Director of Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-801-9111.