A La Ronge wild rice company is expecting a smaller than usual harvest this year.
Katy Muirhead, one of the owners of Against the Grain, said high-water levels this summer are contributing to a decreased crop.
She said they usually don’t start harvesting until the end of August, but June is a crucial month for the plant and the cooler temperatures and high-water levels in that month didn’t help the crop.
“The end of June is a really high risk [time] for our plants because they’re floating on top of the water at that point,” Muirhead said. “And with the high-water at that time it was ripping a lot of our plants right from the ground, so we’ve already noticed that our patches are a lot smaller than what we’re used to.”
Because of the smaller crops, Muirhead said the company isn’t expecting anything close to a usual harvest this year.
“We usually get over 100,000 lbs off of our lakes, and we’re not expecting anywhere near that this time.”
According to Muirhead, the ideal growing conditions for wild rice are just not there.
“Wild rice, usually, the ideal water level is between 30 to 40 inches. The sunlight needs to be able to reach the bottom to germinate the seed. So once the plant is established and it’s becoming mature, which is around right now when it’s coming out of the water, then it can handle a bit of higher water and changing weather conditions.”
(PHOTO: Katy Muirhead, her partner Derek Charles and their children. Photo courtesy Katy Muirhead.)