Despite many sectors of the economy slowing down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, agriculture is one that is rolling forward at full speed in the community. In fact some key contributors to the Wetaskiwin agricultural community like Martin Deerline Wetaskiwin say that weather is more of an issue than the pandemic on production at the moment.
While business at Martin Deerline Wetaskiwin is a little slower than normal, they are still open for curbside pickup and are following social distancing protocols. However, Manager of Wetaskiwin Martin Deerline Bart Klein sees the weather being more of a pressing deterrent to crop yields this season than the pandemic.
Klein says, “weather has been more of an impact than the virus.”
In the past week temperatures have fluctuated from minus ten degrees to upwards of 20 degrees. This sudden change in weather has resulted in a significant amount of water and moisture in the fields. Should this moisture not clear soon, farmers may see delays in seeding their crops. A delay that would be disheartening to farmers after a wet fall and difficult harvest in 2019.
The hard 2019 harvest resulted in many farmers having to abandon their crops to leave them for this spring, some of which may be lost entirely.
Klein says that “if the weather stays on track for the next two weeks, we should be on time for May seeding.” He also believes that the “virus won’t affect planting or harvesting of crops.”
A hope for a dryer summer and fall that is shared among the agricultural community.
Although the agricultural side of their business has not slowed down significantly from the virus, Martin Deerline Wetaskiwin estimates that sales for landscaping and lawn care will be slower than usual this spring.
This predicted loss of sales is based on the fact that many Albertans, including Wetaskiwin and area residents, have either lost their jobs or taken income cuts because of COVID-19.