Some Prince Edward Island farmers say the unpredictable weather this fall is making for a frustrating harvest season.
While some crops are already out of the ground, many fields remain to be harvested.
David Mol of Meadowbrook Farms in Winsloe said about 40 per cent of his soybean crop still needs to come off the field, amounting to 200 acres.
"It's not time to panic but it's time to be concerned," Mol told CBC News on Thursday, which was yet another wet day because of an early-morning snowfall.
Soybeans can usually withstand harsh weather, he said, but this fall has brought too much rain — meaning a lot of his crops haven't had time to dry out.
His family has owned and operated the farm since the 1960s. In recent years, he said it's become harder to predict the weather.
"You get more disappointments than you used to," he said.
Farmer David Mol says a broken-down combine has added to his harvesting hardships this fall. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)
This spring, Mol bought as much crop insurance coverage as he could. "I don't usually. So far, I'm glad that I did."
In all the decades his family has farmed the land, this is only the second time they've had to destroy a winter wheat crop. "That was all related to wet conditions."
'Whatever normal is now'
Alan Miller, who farms about 400 acres of grain and oil seeds in Elmwood, said he still has a number of fields left to clear too.
The soybean harvest is far behind where it should be Island-wide, he said.
"The harvest is going very, very slow. For soybeans, we have probably about 50 per cent of 40,000 acres harvested on P.E.I.," he said.
"In a normal — whatever normal is now — in a normal year, we would probably be 95 to 99 per cent finished by Halloween."
Grain farmers have been battling poor conditions all year, he said, as humidity and heat threatened crops with disease outbreaks over the summer. A rainy fall then made good harvesting days few and far between.
Despite a challenging harvest season, Alan Miller, who farms about 400 acres in Elmwood, says he's optimistic crops will be out of the ground before freeze-up. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)
He's hearing from growers who are working all through the night when it's dry to try to get their crops out of the ground.
"It's stressful. There is no other way to put it," he said. "You can't take responsibility for the weather because that is out of your control. So you kind of have to balance that in your head and kind of try to shake it off."
'A lot more variability'
It's not just grain farmers who are pushing to get the work done. Potato farmers are busy too.
Overall, the harvest has been decent, said John Visser, one of the owners of Victoria Potato Farm, but there are still up to 2,500 acres across the Island that need to come out of the ground.
Visser, who is also the chair of the P.E.I. Potato Board, said it's been a struggle for those who still have acres to harvest.
"I think we've only dug for two and a half or three days a week," he said. Ideally, that would be four to four and a half days a week at this time of year.
I'm hopeful the up-and-coming generation of farmers is going to have a big dose of patience. — David Mol
"When it gets going, it's not pleasant going, depending on your field," he said.
Days like Wednesday, with that unexpected snowfall in central P.E.I., are prime examples of why the industry needs to adapt to climate change, said Donald Killorn, the executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture.
Farmers on Prince Edward Island say they need a stretch of dry, sunny weather to make it across the finish line for the season. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)
"We've had significant variability in the weather and that's what we expect with the changing climate. It's not just a steady change but a lot more variability," said Killorn.
That variability "increases the risk for our farmers, and this year has been no different," he said.
While the soybean fields sit and wait to be harvested, farmers like Miller and Mol said the window they had to replant their fields with other crops like winter wheat is already over.
And the farther behind they fall, the more likely other crops like corn will get pushed back as well.
"I'm hopeful the up-and-coming generation of farmers is going to have a big dose of patience, common sense and support to carry on," said Mol.