A quick trip from Calgary to Saskatoon, last week, cross
country through Hanna then to Kindersley and Rosetown, to Perdue and then
Saskatoon, gave me a 110-kph snapshot of what’s happening with crops in that
part of the world. I wasn’t driving.
There was everything from some excellent wheat, canola and
pea crops north of Drumheller, to some poorer looking stands as we head east,
fields with standing water around Kindersley, nice but patchy fields as we head
north to the ‘toon. And then there were a few hundred acres of this mystery crop (pictured). What is this stuff?
Many canola fields were finished bloom, others were still
hard at it. One field of winter wheat, I suspect, in the Oyen area was
beginning to turn, and in another area in Saskatchewan there was a scraggly
field of something that looked like it was only about five inches tall. Too
early for a new winter wheat seeding, but it was something. Quite a few fallow
fields over that distance – some chemfallow, some tilled.
And in quite few places I saw some ‘what the hell is that’
crops. It was either poor canola with volunteer grains, or patchy grain fields
with lots of volunteer canola. And then too, maybe it was just a great stand on
weeds. Mind you, as plant pathologist/crop specialist Ieuan Evans emphasized to
me the other day – ‘why the hell are farmers who weren’t able to get fields
seeded this spring bothering with chemfallow or conventional fallow this year?
If the fields weren’t seeded because of too much moisture, let the weeds grow.
They will use moisture. And there are plenty of effective herbicides on the
market to deal with weeds later this summer of early fall.’ That was his
Another obvious observation, particularly in Saskatchewan –
work is still needed to get an effective herbicide for lentils. Some fields were
pretty good, and others were actually quite dirty. It was made even more
obvious as I passed thousands of acres of nice, even, clean looking wheat,
barley and/or canola and then bang, there would be a lentil field – thistle
patches, volunteer cereals and canola and other weeds towering above the crop.
Is that just a timing issue, or are producers limited to effective products?
It was a great trip to see who had blocked drill runs at
seeding, or patches of weeds missed by the sprayer, or plugged sprayer nozzles.
I’ll have to get my roadside autosteer/gps stand set-up in a couple places.
One of the most amazing sights on this trip was a
sandwich-board sign on Highway 9 announcing that they now have exotic dancers
in the hamlet of Sibbald, Alberta, which is just west of the Saskatchewan
border. Who knew? This is probably an entertainment feature at the Sibbald
Saloon. Man, if we didn’t have crops to check out on this trek, we would have
stopped to catch a show. I see they also were advertising RV sites. Now, if I
can just convince my wife we could skip the next camping trip to the mountains,
and head to Sibbald to see the scenery there. She could shop all day, and I
could check out the feature entertainment. Somehow, I don’t think that is going
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