The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA), whose members represent close to 90 percent of North America’s horticultural peat extraction, is reporting its annual level of harvest for the 2023 season. The annual survey of members was conducted on the status of their 2023 Actual Harvest as a percentage of their 2023 Expected Harvest as of August 31 (harvest will continue in some regions, weather-dependent). The harvest overall varied regionally, but well-known significantly poor weather conditions across North America meant that harvest, unfortunately, was well below expected levels. However, with appropriate planning and carry-over from 2022, the industry is confident that the needs of the market will be filled.
In Western Canada (Manitoba [MB], Saskatchewan [SK], and Alberta [AB]), all regions were below the targeted volumes (79% in MB; 68% in SK; 48% in AB). In some cases, record-breaking rain and the impacts of Canadian forest fires significantly delayed the harvest season, a situation that extended through much of the summer. As we approach the end of summer, we see more favorable conditions, but these are likely insufficient to reach target volumes.
In New Brunswick (NB), both the North and South regions saw the worst historical conditions for harvest, and results were significantly below expectations (40% in NB North, 39% in NB South). Varied weather patterns combined with frequent rainfall through the early and mid-summer months constrained harvest throughout the Maritimes, including Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The harvest on Québec’s South Shore (72%) and North Shore (50%) were also below expectations. Similar summer storms, particularly on the North Shore, did not permit either region to achieve its targeted volumes. Similar weather patterns affected the Ontario (78%) harvest.
As in the past, Canadian horticultural peat producers are committed to working cooperatively with their commercial business partners. CSPMA members continue to extract and manage horticultural peat in a sustainable and responsible way that delivers social and economic benefits to many communities across North America, all while applying scientifically researched world-leading environmental practices. In addition, Canadian horticultural peat producers are engaged in increasing harvesting capacity through investments in plant infrastructure, harvesting equipment, bog openings, and personnel training while partnering with academia to limit its environmental footprint. Producers, through the CSPMA, are also working with provincial governments to improve the regulatory environment to ensure the critical resource continues to deliver on the benefits of food security and well-being for generations to come.
2023 Actual Harvest: The volume of cubic feet (CFT) of harvest that was achieved as of August 31, plus what can reasonably be expected to be harvested for the last few weeks of the season, considering « normal » harvesting conditions.
2023 Expected Harvest: The volume of CFT that equates to a) market needs, plus, b) anticipated buffer as at the end of the 2023 season, minus, c) inventory on hand at the start of the 2023 season (what was left of the 2022 buffer).