May 13, 2014 by Lee Hart

The definitive world fieldwork tour

I just returned from the definitive world fieldwork tour assessing the state of seeding and pasture progress on farmland surrounded by the Tri-City area of Balzac, Beiseker, and Nightingale (just north and east of Calgary).

East of Beiseker this unit sat at the ready. It was either too wet or the farmer was having a nap.

East of Beiseker this unit sat at the ready. It was either too wet or the farmer was having a nap.

The executive summary — it is very quiet out there folks. Tractors and air seeders waiting for drier fields and cows and calves waiting for green grass.

Of the dozens of farms and thousands of acres I passed on a sunny May 13 afternoon I saw only three air seeding systems working and those farmers had bags over their heads to avoid identity. They obviously felt guilty to be farming higher ground. There were miles of undisturbed stubble.

I figured it might be a bit slow, but I was surprised at just how little fieldwork has been done so far this spring. I shouldn’t be because as recently as last Friday there was still a narrow band of snow along the back fence in my yard.

Lots of water in potholes, dugouts and meandering creeks. Just about every stop I made I could hear frogs croaking. Ducks and geese were camped on  every slough.

I am going out on a limb and call it a late spring for farmers in this area. Mind you with a few warm, sunny, windy days they could be going full tilt, but the seven-day southern Alberta forecast calls for a series of rainy days over the next week. I hope the forecast is wrong.

Here are a few more photos from along the road.

I don't see many Pinzgauer cattle these days, and this small herd near Heartland Ranch looked content but were wondering about when the green grass appears.

I don’t see many Pinzgauer cattle these days, and this small herd near Heartland Ranch looked content but were wondering when the green grass appears.

This John Deere unit looked like it was ready to roll, once field conditions were drier and warmer.
This John Deere unit looked like it was ready to roll, once field conditions were drier and warmer.

 

 

 

But in a shelterbelt, a couple hundred feet from where the John Deere unit was sitting, there was still a reminder that winter isn't quite ready to surrender to spring 100 per cent.

In a shelterbelt, a couple hundred feet from where the John Deere unit was sitting, there was still a reminder that winter isn’t quite ready to surrender to spring 100 per cent.

 

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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