Harvest season is in full swing but recent rains have put some delays on the process.
Derek Neurauter, who farms north of Prince Albert by Christopher Lake, is facing an added obstacle this year.
Normally, when wet weather hits, he relies on his grain dryer to solve the problem by drying out the grain and preventing spoilage. On Tuesday, SaskEnergy shut off the natural gas line to at least three dryers in the area, his being one, putting them out of commission for the time being.
“Now that it’s rained, our grain will be high moisture,” said Neurauter, adding he can’t pile it up wet because it will rot or start heating.
“We won’t be able to start combing as quickly as we wanted because we can’t take grain off that tough without being able to use our grain dryer.”
Neurauter said the call from SaskEnergy came as an unwelcome surprise.
“The fact is, there was no notice,” he explained. “It was, ‘We’re shutting it off now,’ and that was it.
“It makes me a little frustrated. I think there could’ve been more planning involved than this.”
“It makes me a little frustrated. I think there could’ve been more planning involved than this.”- Derek Neurauter
While a new highway through the lake lands is under construction, the main gas line below has been shut off due to safety reasons, according to Vanessa Beaupre with SaskEnergy communications.
“It’s a matter of safety because you can’t have an active gas line underneath a construction project,” explained Beaupre, adding SaskEnergy understands the inconvenience.
“It’s a matter of safety because you can’t have an active gas line underneath a construction project.”- Vanessa Beaupre with SaskEnergy
“We have made sure, going forward, everything is safe and that we can accommodate these construction projects.”
Beaupre explained a temporary line was put in to supply nearby homes, lacking the capacity to support grain dryers, which require a large amount of natural gas to run.
The temporary line was created in May, but farmers were only notified once they tried to use the grain dryers.
Beaupre said if weather cooperates with highway work, they hope to have the service back up to the grain dryers with their permanent line by Sept. 14.
According to Neurauter, SaskEnergy advised them the lines would be turned off for up to three weeks.
“If we don’t get sunshine, we won’t go until the dryer is going,” said Neurauter. “Three weeks from now we’re into October.
“We were hoping to start combining here in the next couple days if the sun shines, and get (the grain) to the dryer.”
Neurauter said they had hoped to finish harvest mid-October.