By Nick Dunn
It is that time of year when we start to see more machinery going down the road and I ask all of you to share the roadway accordingly. I can personally testify that nothing means more to an equipment operator going down the road than to see oncoming traffic pull over to the side or tailing with adequate space. The blind spots in big machinery are much larger than ones of a normal-sized vehicle, so placing yourself in a position where the operators can see you may just save a life. Another approach is that if you see oncoming equipment, plan an alternative route if feasible. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed with the breathtaking views of Flagstaff County in the fall.
Harvest in Flagstaff is a time where the community comes together, whether that’s neighbours helping neighbours or friends in town helping friends in the field. Long hours, tireless teamwork and dedication are what feeds this world, and being a farming community, we are the backbone.
At the start of this year’s season, we were on the verge of declaring an Agricultural Disaster due to drought conditions. With improved conditions, that only left us facing variables like hail damage and pressures from pests. Producers have faced adversity repeatedly, and each time, they have emerged stronger, more resilient, and more determined to not only feed our community but the world. This year has certainly been unique with many variations of maturity and crop quality all within our borders. We have the good, the bad, and the ugly, which is a direct result of minimal blanket coverage rainfall. With harvest going into full swing, I have not heard of many yields; however, I suspect some producers will be surprised with some of their crops, particularly oilseeds. The canola plant has always amazed me with its ability to perform in low plant densities and bounce back from natural stresses. These yields may not be “bin busting” but in times like we have witnessed this year, we can be grateful to have a harvest, as many of us were expecting to be in the field much earlier.
According to the Alberta Crop Report released on September 5, 35% of all crops have been combined provincially. The majority of that being in the south where they have experienced drier and warmer weather. Challenges we are facing now are cool, moist and smoky conditions that are delaying maturity even further. Our region has only completed 9% of the harvest, which is behind the five-year average of 14%. Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface in brackets) are currently rated at 7 (19) per cent poor, 21 (29) per cent fair, 60 (44) per cent good, 11 (8) per cent excellent and 1 (0) per cent excessive. Second cut hay is 62 per cent complete and average yield is at 1 ton per acre, above the five-year average 0.8 tons per acre. The majority of pasture growth conditions are rated as fair. If you would like to read more information or previous Alberta Crop Reports, please visit: www.alberta.ca/alberta-crop-reports.
From my behalf I would like to wish you all a safe and successful harvest and to enjoy them meals in the field!
Nick Dunn is Flagstaff County’s Agricultural Fieldman. He can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 780-384-4138.