Aug 11, 2011 by Lee Hart

12 amazing things I saw on my road trip

A friend of mine who works on the oil rigs says he doesn’t
like being out on the prairie because there is nothing to see. But I beg to
differ. I just got back from an amazing road trip from Calgary to Neerlandia
(north of Edmonton) and the drive there and back was like a carnival of
attractions.

And of course being up in that Barrhead/Westlock area it is
a no-brainer to begin with. It is well known it is an area where you can take
50 per cent germ test, 10-year-old, bin-run wheat seed, throw it on a gravel
road and still get 65 bushels per acre — it is Nothing-But-Money Country. It is like Disneyland up there. 

So here is a sampling of some of the things I saw, this day:

  • North
    of Neerlandia you will find Neeralta Welding operated by the Wierenga brothers
    who are now running theThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Neeralta Grain Bagger .jpg fabricating shop steady trying to keep up to
    orders for the Neeralta Grain Bagger. It is a extremely well built, 10
    foot bagger (a 12 foot model will be introduced for 2012) that comes with
    an attached swing auger, and large 8’ x 10’ foot loading hopper. You can
    learn more about it at www.neeraltawelding.com.

 

 

 

  • Not
    every pea field north of Edmonton looked this good, but Headline fungicide
    from BASF can no doubt take Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Headline peas .jpgsome credit for producing this excellent
    stand. The crop still had the odd flower, but it was loaded with pods so
    barring any serious weather events it should produce a very respectable
    yield.

 

 

 

  • Craig
    Schmidt of Pioneer Seed did a great job of recommending P7213R hybrid corn
    to a grower/dairy farmer just north of Neerlandia. This field of the 2050
    heat unit variety was standing about seven feet tall and weed Thumbnail image for Pioneer corn .jpgfree. Plenty
    of moisture in this area, though, as I had to pick my spot to cross the
    ditch.

 

 

 

  • Here
    is the mystery photo of the day — what caused these less mature  strips in this field of canola. I
    saw Canola Strips .jpgseveral similar fields in the drive from Barrhead to Westlock and down
    to Edmonton. There was lots of variation in maturity in different fields
    but these strips made me think it had something to do with seeding or
    spraying. But that didn’t really make sense. And then I wondered if it had
    something to do with soil compaction. I have a Grainews cap for the first
    person who can give me a reasonable explanation for the strips.

 

 

  • AC
    Foremost wheat isn’t a new variety by any means, but it looked to be
    performing well in this field near Westlock. Developed by Ron DePauw at Ag
    Canada in Swift Current, nearly 20 years ago, it is a high yielding,Thumbnail image for Foremost wheat .jpg  shorter, early maturing wheat, with strong straw, good sprouting
    resistance and bunt resistance. Cyre Seeds of Barrhead is the local agent
    for this SeCan variety.

 

 

  • Pentagon
    Farm Centre at Westlock had a good selection of new-to-you combines
    including Claas and Cat pentagon cropped .jpegLexion combines and New Holland combines. Yellow
    wasn’t the only color in the yard, but it was predominant there as well as
    at the Pentagon Farm Centre on Highway 2 near Red Deer.

 

 

  • This
    is not a picture of Invigor canola (on the right). Not sure what it was
    exactly, but it was a dirty mess. It would be a good poster picture
    emphasizing the value of crop protection products, or perhaps the penalty
    ofNot Invigor Canola .jpg not controlling weeds. It might have even been a field of volunteer
    canola that never got the chemfallow treatment. Not far from there, (left
    photo) was this excellent field of Bayer CropScience’s Invigor 5440,
    released about five years ago. It is a medium height, high yielding
    variety, with yields about 135 per cent of check varieties. I found it
    interesting to note I saw many more full bloom fields south of Edmonton
    than I did north of Edmonton.
  • Invigor cropped .jpg
  • If you
    need a new-to-you air seeding system or combine header check out this
    Bourgault air seeder and Case IH, 25 foot header south of Westlock on
    Highway 41. It probably did its duty for this year and now it is time forThumbnail image for air seeder cropped .jpeg  it to be re-homed. I think there was some land for sale just across the
    road from this equipment, so you could probably buy the whole package and
    be set up and ready to roll next spring. If you are interested in the machinery
    call 780-939-2132. (I get a finders fee).

 

 

 

  • Two
    cereal herbicides near Leduc both seemed to perform very well. On the
    north side of the road was Dow Prestige wheat .jpgAgroSciences Prestige, with three active
    ingredients for control of Canada Thistle, sow thistle and many other
    common broadleaf weeds in cereals. And, on the south side Bayer
    CropScience’s fairly new Tundra herbicide, which is an all-in-one
    formulation for grassy and broadleaf weeds. Both crops looked like they
    were doing very well.
Thumbnail image for Tundra herbicide bayer .jpg

 

 

  • And
    where is Captain Copper (Dr. Ieuan Evans) when you need him? I saw some excellent stands of wheat south of better lodged crop .jpgEdmonton but some had patches of lodging, which Ieuan over the years has maintained, is often a
    sign of copper deficiency in the soil. (Ieuan was a long time plant
    pathologist with Alberta Agriculture and is now a senior coach with
    AgriTrend Agrology). The untrained eye may blame this leaning crop on high
    winds and heavy rains, but I am going with the copper deficiency angle.

 




 

  • I saw
    lots of hay on the trip — lots of brown hay in the country. It was a
    beautiful sunny day, but no one was baling by 2 p.m. although I saw a
    couple guys out raking. I noticed quite a few places using the bale wrap
    onHay bales .jpg large round bales, instead of twine. It may help with weathering a bit,
    but my brother-in-law who just started using a John Deere baler with
    wrapper this year says the big feature is time. He says he saves about two
    minutes making each bale with wrap instead of twine, which may not seem
    like a lot, but if you put up 500 bales that’s about 16 fewer hours and
    with 1000 bales it is 32 hours. Those could be important hours if you are
    rushing against the weather, or would just rather be doing something else.

 

 

  • And
    when you get down in the Ponoka/Lacombe area I saw both fat cattle and
    horses doing well on pasture and in a feed yard. This yard of draft horses
    was south and west of Ponoka and the rainbow cattle herd looked to be
    doing very well on ample pasture near Bles Wold Dairy just west of
    Lacombe.Bles wold beef .jpeghorses cropped.jpeg

 

Lee Hart

Lee Hart


Lee Hart is a long-time farm writer, and honorary member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists, with many observations on the agriculture industry, who never hesitates to admit he is wrong (should that ever happen.)


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