2017 not so nice for wild rice

By Nigel Maxwell
December 22, 2017 - 5:00pm Updated: December 25, 2017 - 8:30am

This past year could go down as one of the worst years for wild rice crops in recent memory.

Harvester Lynn Riese said he's very concerned about both his customers and other harvesters.

"In ten years, this is the worst we've done," he said.

Riese said the harvest was only 10 per cent of what it should have been. The combination of windy conditions in the summer and colder temperatures in the fall really impacted wild rice growers, he said. 

Unlike canola or other grains, wild rice thrives in water. Low water levels mean crops can grow between eight inches and 42 inches, ideally. Too much water can be devastating, and Riese said he is hoping the snow is sparse this winter. 

"Only a couple guys have made much money this year - it's been really bad," Reise said.

Riese is one of the few wild rice farmers who relies solely on the income from his crop. Wild rice farmers can apply for coverage through Saskatchewan Crop Insurance, but Riese said any coverage is usually minimal.

The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) is still finalizing the number of claims from 2017 and expect to release those numbers in the New Year.

In a statement issued to paNOW, the SCIC did confirm wild rice production in 2017 was at 414,000 pounds as compared to 3.9 million pounds in 2016.


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