WASHINGTON (DTN)--Canadian Prairie farmers are a hardy lot, and they proved their mettle this season, braving the beginnings of the Canadian winter to continue harvest activities into November and December.

A recent survey of crop reporters estimated about 1.7 million acres remain to be harvested, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture, Food, and Rural Revitalization. This is about one-half of the 3.8 million acres of crop yet to be harvested reported in the Nov. 15 crop report summary for 2002.

More than two-thirds of the crop still in the field is estimated to be in northeastern and north central areas of the province. Crops with the highest percentage of the seeded area still in the fields include flax, canola, sunflowers and canary seed. Crops left in the field face potential damage from weather and animals, with any further harvest progress depending on winter weather.

"Combining this late in the year was made challenging by ice and snow in the fields. Most of the late harvested grain has been dried or will need to be watched carefully for signs of spoilage. Machinery took a beating on the frozen ground and in trying to handle tough crops," the report said.

Bales also will need to be watched for signs of heating as straw and hay were baled at moisture levels higher than desired. Thousands of acres were swath-grazed across the province and many cattle still remain on the fields.

Reporters also indicated that there still is baling to be done and bales to be hauled home.

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