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public works updates300wCrews are working on the following.  

 

 

 

flagstaff county lub update thumbnail copyWe are updating our current Land Use Bylaw, which was adopted in 2018, and we'd like you to be involved in the process.

 

 

aerialEver wanted to try the Flagstaff County version of WebMap (an interactive mapping tool that offers access to a significant amount of useful municipal land information) but not sure how it works?

 

 

manitou stone thumbnailFlagstaff County has a rich history of Indigenous sites within our region. In fact, Flagstaff County gets its name from the region's highest point, which the Cree referred to as Flag Hanging Hill. Legend has it that the hill, also known as Treaty Hill, was a popular gathering place for Indigenous people. It was also where Bishop Grandin met the Blackfoot and Cree, and forged peace between them.

flagstaff county land ownership map october 2022 copyLooking for an up-to-date Flagstaff County ownership map?

 

 

 

 

Input word microphone stand sign to illustrate invitation to share ideas, suggestions, comments and opinions in a public forum, hearing or meetingIn preparation for the development of the Business Plan and Budget for each of the next three years, and as part of Council’s ongoing commitment to encourage public engagement, residents of Flagstaff County and the hamlets of Strome and Galahad were invited to our Public Input BBQ in mid-August of 2022.

 

Biceps. Muscle icon. Vector illustrationNo matter your fitness level, you can join the Flagstaff Fitness Challenge by downloading the Strava app onto your phone and searching "Flagstaff Fitness Challenge".

 

 

service requestAttention all rural Flagstaff County landowners: Got a service request for Public Works, such as a sewer or road issue? 

 

 

236994844 6204411936243573 7636720682447928605 nThe Class 1 Driving Back to Work program is again taking applications. Last time, the program closed early due to oversubscription, so apply now.

 

 

 

tax notice copyTax and Assessment Notices for 2022 were mailed to Flagstaff County, Strome and Galahad property owners Tuesday, May 31. If you do not receive your notice by June 15, please contact our office at 780-384-4100. 

 

 

strategic plan thumbnail web copyFlagstaff County Council is responsible for developing a plan to determine the long-term strategic direction of the municipality. Council's current 2022-25 Strategic Plan is a guide outlining their key priorities and strategic goals for the coming years. 

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailThis will be my final column for The Community Press, as I have retired from Flagstaff County as of May 31. I have really appreciated the opportunity to communicate to the public through these columns and by other means. I also really have enjoyed the feedback I received from the public from them. So often in my career, there was little response from the work I did and it has been very enjoyable hearing from you.

in the field with harry copyGrow your knowledge about all things agricultural in Flagstaff County!
Watch all of the episodes of "In the field with Harry" featuring Flagstaff County Agricultural Fieldman Harry Brook.

 

 

fc gift guide spring summer thumbnailCopies of the 2022 Flagstaff Crafted Spring/Summer Collection Gift Guide are now available at various locations throughout Flagstaff, as well as just outside of the region!

 

 

escapeThe tourism sector was the first hit by COVID and will be the last to recover. But we are on the path to recovery. The past two years have tested all of us. But through it all, our spirit has never wavered. Because the sun always rises in Alberta.

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailVarious local or government agencies may be viewed as providing minimal services. However, it is often the case that a lot of what they do is not common knowledge. It’s a lot like wetting yourself in a dark suit; you get that warm feeling but nobody notices.

 

 

discover aviation thumbnailPlease enjoy the following three-minute video we put together highlighting last month's popular Discover Aviation event at Flagstaff Regional Airport! 

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailThroughout Alberta, counties and municipalities are responsible for providing roads. In rural areas, there are road allowances every one mile east to west and every two miles north to south.

 

 

enbridge logoJust prior to the establishment of the Flagstaff Regional Emergency Services Society, Flagstaff County received a grant for the Galahad Fire Department from the Enbridge Safe Community First Responder Program.

 

 

edw 2022 thumb webIt’s official! We’ve declared Economic Development Week in Flagstaff County. Thanks to our elected officials for recognizing the value of the profession.

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailSpring is here and it's time to hit the fields. One of the first activities on fields is applying glyphosate and other herbicides as a pre-seed burndown to remove the weeds. If you can get your crop to germinate before weeds do, you drastically reduce the effect of weed competition on crop yield.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailEach year flea beetles seem to be a growing problem in early emerging canola crops. Despite insecticide-treated seed, their numbers increase.

 

 

 

cf 18 lithograph web thumbnailFlagstaff County Reeve Don Kroetch was presented Saturday, April 23 with a lithograph of the CF-18 demo fighter jet that performed last July at the 2021 Camrose Drive-In Airshow.

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailAs of March 4 this year, strychnine for control of Richardson's ground squirrels (RGS) can no longer be sold to the public. By March 4, 2023, farmers and ranchers will no longer be allowed to use strychnine for control of RGS. So, what are the alternatives to control this pest?

 

skylerThank you to the farmers who participated in our 2022 Farm Truck Inspections on April 21 at the Wild Rose Co-op Cardlock in Killam. This annual safety program is designed to give producers an opportunity to have their trucks inspected prior to the busy spring season. In addition to giving farmers peace of mind, it also makes our roads safer for all motorists.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailFertilizer prices seem to be in a race with crop prices to the top. Fertilizer is an essential input but there are a lot of questions around how much to apply with the crop and what will give you the biggest bang for your input dollar. To make a wise decision related to fertilizer, you need a little information.

 

starsWe have elevated our support for STARS Air Ambulance.

Glenda Farnden, senior municipal relations liaison for STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) Foundation, gave a presentation to Flagstaff County Council at the regular meeting April 13, outlining operations and fundraising efforts to date, and providing updated statistics on STARS activity in the Flagstaff area.

giftguideCongratulations to our award-winning Economic Development team on their most recent award!

The team captured the "Regional Collaboration and Partnership Project" award at last week's Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) conference for their 2021 Flagstaff Crafted Fall/Winter Gift Guide.

 

rhpap copyThe Rural Health Professions Action Plan, or RhPAP,  knows that all rural health-care providers have their own reasons for choosing to live, work and play in rural Alberta. What were the deciding factors for you as a rural health-care provider? Did your rural roots draw you back or were there other things that enticed you to choose rural Alberta? RhPAP would also like to know how their programs may have supported you in your decision to 'go rural'.

drainagethumbFlagstaff County landowners should be aware of several important factors when it comes to drainage and brush removal.

Did you know that provincial legislation is in place to deal with unauthorized drainage on private property? Did you also know that municipal bylaws and policies exist to address brush removal on right-of-ways?

in the field with harry thumbnailWhy should you care about statistics? Statistics surround us and they are a tool to determine how likely an outcome will occur. Algorithms are based on statistics. Sounds simple, right? Like any tool, it can be abused.

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnail copy"Soil health" is a phrase bandied about a lot. It’s not a new idea but a recycled old one brought about by the realization we rely totally on our soils for food. Soil degradation, through farming and grazing, has caused soil quality declines. Worldwide, soil degradation is estimated to have reduced soil quality and productivity in a majority of soils.

 

covid 19 thumbFlagstaff County is monitoring developments related to COVID-19. 

 

 

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailWhen fertilizer prices are high, there are many fertilizer products and micro products that are touted as giving something for nothing. Stop for a minute and ask if these claims make sense. There are many calculators that give you the amount of macronutrients you are removing for every bushel of grain or oilseed as well as straw. Growing and shipping crops, whether they are annual or perennial, is exporting nutrients. Where they come from is up to you.

logoswebFlagstaff County uses two logos: the Flagstaff County Corporate logo and the Flagstaff Region Brand logo.

 

 

 

 

hca bursary advertisement thumbnailConsidering a career as a health care aide? Apply for a bursary to cover tuition costs.

 

 

 

speed test thumbnailHow fast is your internet? Test your speed at: https://performance.cira.ca/flagstaff.

The data from the speed test is 100% confidential and will be used to support applications for improved internet coverage in the Flagstaff Region.

 

galahad care centreLong Term Care is an interesting, challenging, and continually changing field, with some of the most complex patients in healthcare. Alberta Health Services has an exciting opportunity to grow your career in the hamlet of Galahad. Search and apply online at AHS.ca/jobs.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailThe urge is almost irresistible. Take out all trees, bush, and fill in the sloughs and wet areas. One nice, open field maximizes field efficiency and machinery use. More acres means more crop, right? Not necessarily!

 

 

social media thumbnailFrom Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Instagram, Flagstaff County takes pride in having a strong and engaging social media presence.

While these are all open forums, they are also family-friendly and we ask that you follow our general posting guidelines.

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailFarming is big business! Just look at the cost of land, machinery, inputs! Everything involved in making a living farming is expensive and getting more so. Agriculture has benefited from a long period of farmland appreciation, which can mask some underlying weakness in an operation. Let’s look at measurement of financial health.

 

snowplow copy copyRoadways are cleared of snow as necessary. During normal winter conditions, collector and local roads should be cleared of snow within four days and arterial roads should be cleared of snow within two to three days, unless there is heavy snow and persistent winds.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailFeed was tight this winter and the cold spell in December, early January, certainly didn’t help the issue. Ruminants, such as cattle, are uniquely endowed with the ability to convert forage and fibre into useable energy and protein. They do this through their rumen, a large fermentation vat containing a huge variety of bacteria, fungi, and protozoans.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailIt may feel like the wrong season for it, but now is an ideal time to be pruning those trees you’ve been thinking about. The best time for pruning a tree is when it is dormant. Pruning in late fall or early winter can result in some new growth if there is an unseasonable warm spell.

 

photo contest winner thumbnailHappy Canadian Ag Day! And the winner of our 2022 Canadian Agriculture Day Photography Contest is ... (drumroll, please) ...

 

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailAnyone who has been through drought (which is most people on the Prairies) knows drought is costly and difficult to deal with. However, that doesn’t mean you are helpless in the face of it. You can make plans to reduce the effects of the next potential drought year. Livestock producers, particularly, are acutely aware of the need to plan for a drought.

 

public notice copy copyThe Alberta Environmental Appeals Board has scheduled a hearing by videoconference for August 17, 2022 regarding appeals filed by Mitchell Hochhausen and Wavy Lake Enterprises
Ltd. with respect to an Enforcement Order and Amendments to the Order.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailFiguring out land rental on an annual basis is not an easy task. Some things to consider include crop or livestock prices, potential yield, length of lease, crop share or cash, timing of payment and dealing with price risk. As a landowner you don’t want to be taken advantage of or price the lease too low. As a land renter, you can’t afford to pay too much but have to weigh the costs of renting against potential profits. Local competition for land also plays a part in cash rents.

in the field with harry thumbnail copyEarly in 2022 is the time to look at the latest information from the variety trials. The “bible” for variety selection is the annual Variety Seed Guide, which usually comes out early in the New Year. However, selecting a suitable crop variety for your specific operation is more involved than just picking the highest yielding variety.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailWe still have a lot of winter to go, but now is the time of year for the insect forecast maps to come out from Alberta Agriculture. Throughout the summer and fall, many people are involved in surveying the risk to crops from an assortment of insect pests. In late January, Alberta Agriculture posts their forecast maps for the following year. Usually, in dry years, insects are a growing problem. How is next year looking?

in the field with harry thumbnailIt may seem like a weird time to discuss this topic but weed resistance to herbicide is quickly becoming a serious issue for some producers in the county. Articles about herbicide resistance are commonly found in agricultural publications but should it concern you? Most emphatically YES!

 

d1tjsvem 400x400Flagstaff County has received $150,000 in federal funding to undertake the Flagstaff County Industrial Park Feasibility Study.

The funding, announced in a Government of Canada news release issued January 17, 2022, will cover the cost of a feasibility study, options analysis, and business case/recommendations for developing industrial sites with access to Battle River Railway.

in the field with harry thumbnailOnce you’ve successfully soil sampled and received the results, how can you best use the information for fertility planning for the next crop? Interpretation is important.

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailMany of you may do an annual soil test. Are they an accurate reflection of available soil nutrients? A soil test is only as good as the sampling method.

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailWinter has arrived, but it is not too early to think about planting some trees next spring. Flagstaff County is again collecting applications under our Shelterbelt Establishment Program, where the county will pay for half the cost of the trees. Applications are being collected until the end of January, when the order will be sent in.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailThis is not my usual column content, but I see an issue that is becoming critical to the well-being of our society. No matter where you work or what you do, if it involves people, engagement is necessary. Public engagement is necessary for service groups, businesses and governments to effectively do their jobs and serve their clients well.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailOften we don’t consider the soil that grows our crops. There’s a lot happening in the soil, below the surface. Under the dry conditions we experienced this year, there was a lot more salinity showing up around sloughs and in low areas. It shows up as the white patches where nothing is growing

 

in the field with harry thumbnailFarming is a very stressful occupation and is one of the few businesses where you have no control over the biggest factor determining success. Weather. You can do everything right, according to the book, yet, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, as it didn’t this year with moisture, the crop can be a failure.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailAs crop prices continue to rise, it has directly affected the price and use of land. We can see it all around us as brush and sloughs are being cleared or burnt to increase the “farmable” acres. Part of the area that some producers might be using are undeveloped road allowances.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailFarming and ranching are not for the faint of heart. So many things crucial to your success are beyond your ability to affect. That includes weather, markets and disasters. However, there is one task that is often overlooked or put off that has a direct bearing on the long-term success of your farm operation. Succession planning.

 

public notice copyIn accordance with Section 70 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, the Hamlet of Galahad has applied to Alberta Environment and Parks for renewal of its waterworks system approval.

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailFlagstaff County has supported and encouraged the planting of shelterbelts and windbreaks for a very long time. They have been and continue to be popular with some people in the County. In recognition of that support, Flagstaff County’s 2022 budget includes paying for 50% of the cost of trees, ordered through the County, for the purposes of shelterbelts and windbreaks.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailWith the 2021 harvest behind us there is actually some time available to do fall work. That just might include fall application of fertilizer for next year’s crop. Often, but not always, fertilizer is cheaper in the fall than the spring. In a lot of years, fall fertilization makes economic sense and it also saves time the following spring.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailRural residents know all too well (pun intended) that without water, a yard site is worthless. After the dry conditions this summer, we’ve seen surface water dry up and shallow aquifers become iffy. Water is the basic necessity for life in rural Alberta. How do you ensure it is permanently available for you and future generations?

 

in the field with harry thumbnailBy Harry Brook

This summer has been particularly difficult for livestock producers. Hay yielded less than 50% of a normal crop and producers have been scrambling to find enough feed to feed their cattle through the winter.

 

in the field with harry thumbnail copyIt doesn’t happen every year but this year might be a good year. I’m talking about post-harvest weed control. In general, most annual weeds are best controlled in the spring, before they get too big. Perennial weeds such as Canada thistle, perennial sow thistle and quackgrass are best controlled in the fall. There are a group of weeds that are not necessarily either annual or perennial weeds. They are called winter annuals.

in the field with harry thumbnailEarly harvest can be an opportunity to try something a little different this fall. Get the jump on spring work by seeding a fall cereal. Fall cereals have numerous advantages and can really work well in disrupting weed problems as well as saving time in the busy spring period. The common winter cereals grown are winter wheat, fall rye and winter triticale.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailKochia used to be a plant associated with the southern parts of the province. However, over the years, this weed has continued to spread and is becoming a serious problem in Central Alberta. Kochia is very salt-tolerant and starts to grow in those areas where salinity prevents many other plants from growing.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailFor years, the simple and effective way to dry down a crop to speed maturity and reduce moisture content in a crop, was to cut it and put it into a swath. Depending on weather conditions, the crop could be dry enough to combine or thresh in a week to 10 days. Maybe longer if it was cool.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailIt has been a very challenging year for agriculture in Alberta. Extreme temperatures coupled with little rain has led to drastically reduced crop yield potential and little pasture and hay growth. Many counties and municipalities have declared their areas to be agricultural disaster areas. What does it really mean?

 

in the field with harry thumbnailEveryone is aware that plants hit by frost can accumulate nitrates, but did you know that any stress can cause the same thing to happen? In fact, drought is probably the worst situation for nitrate to concentrate in forage plants.

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailAs we get into late summer, it means the ASB staff is getting into the field. Don’t be too startled if you see someone with a safety vest wandering around your wheat or canola field. One of the many responsibilities the agricultural fieldman and staff have, over the summer, is to assist the provincial agricultural department in several disease and insect surveys.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailWith the high temperatures, no appreciable snow runoff this spring and little rain, you should be aware of changes to surface water quality and its effects on livestock. Cattle have been known to have died when their sole water source has very high levels of sulfates and cases of refusing to drink poor water are not unknown.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailOne of the main weeds we have in this county that seems to be spreading is white cockle. At this time of year, you see a lot of flowers showing up along fence lines, especially in the boundary between the field crop and the edge of the road. The field edge is a difficult zone as some over-spraying by field operators can leave patches of bare soil, the perfect place for invasive weeds to start.

 

barry yaremcioDifferent areas of the province are either in dry conditions or in a drought. Some cereal, legume (pea and lentil) and canola crops are under stress and are not likely to make it to harvest. These crops can be used as feed for ruminant animals.

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailCrops are up but moisture levels are low. The crop is hurting from the heat and some retailers may suggest you use fungicide to protect yield potential. Is this a good idea? Crop diseases tend to be a problem under cool or warm, moist conditions. For most diseases, you spray to prevent the spread of the disease on the leaves or stem. Should you be concerned about this under conditions of moisture stress?

in the field with harry thumbnailSevere heat waves, such as the one we are now experiencing, can and do have a very serious effect on growing crops, especially when they are at this crucial stage of bolting and head formation. Our common field crops do best under conditions of warm temperatures. They photosynthesize best from about 5˚ to 25˚ C.

 

in the field with harry thumbnailRolling cropland makes a lot of good sense, especially if you have pulses to seed. It pushes the rocks down and smooths the fields making harvest easier, can limit dirt tag on pulses and can benefit silage harvesting, too! It prevents costly damage to the combine, if the crop lodges. However, a few basic rules need to be followed to make sure it’s beneficial, and not causing other problems.

 

regional fire services manager wanted copyOn behalf of the Flagstaff Regional Emergency Services Society (FRESS), please see the following news release.

 

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailWe are in the middle of spray season. Some canola producers are using insecticide on their canola and others are trying to spray the emerging crop for weeds. It is a major crop expense but how do you maximize the results from your spray dollar?

 

 

in the field with harry thumbnailThe crop is starting to emerge. What insect pests should you be on the lookout for?

Canola starts out as a tiny, fragile plant, once germinated. Insignificant flea beetles can really devastate a canola crop at the cotyledon stage. It isn’t helped when we have cool periods in spring where the canola growth stalls. This is the time to be vigilant about flea beetles.

bee webHappy Day of the Honey Bee!

As the world's most important plant pollinator, the bee plays a critical role in our food system.

 

in the field with harry thumbnail“Life is what happens to you while you’re making plans.” This statement also applies to agricultural production. You make plans for a successful crop with the right amount of seed, fertilizer and equipment then hope for the best. Sometimes, you find spots in the field where something is not working. Time to examine the area closer and figure out what is going on.

 

in the field with harry copySeed treatment. Another cost and what’s the benefit? Seed treatment with a mix of fungicides and possibly insecticides, is a lot like an insurance policy. Under ideal conditions at seeding you put your seed into the ground at just the perfect depth, moisture and temperature and quickly, up it comes!. Under soil temperatures at 10˚C and adequate moisture, the crop rapidly germinates, emerges and begins the journey to a productive crop.

in the field with harry copyFlagstaff County has a primary responsibility to provide road access and weed control along County roads. The job is not as easy as it sounds. One area of concern is the encroachment of agricultural cropping into the County road right-of way. No big deal you say?

 

 

in the field with harry copyEvery spring there is a strong temptation for livestock producers: getting the cattle out onto pasture as soon as possible. However, putting cattle on grass before it is ready will limit the grazing you can get out of it for the entire season and even longer. The why of this is dependent on the way grass grows.

 

in the field with harry copyA few years ago, the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) changed their rules for the registration of fertilizer products. Up until then, any registered product had to be shown to be both effective and safe for the environment. Well, they changed the rules so that now a fertilizer only needs to be proven to be safe. There are some “fertilizer” products out there that may not actually improve yield but they are safe!

podcast cover final copy copyIn lieu of our annual public open house due to ongoing COVID restrictions, Council is using the Flagstaff County podcast to publicly engage with residents.

 

 

 

in the field with harry copySo far, I’ve mostly talked about nitrogen. Let’s not forget there are other nutrients needed by the crop. The graph below shows the amount of nutrient uptake cereal crops have taken from the soil and when. Canola and other oilseeds are much the same. The nutrients must be available early on or you risk reduced yields.

 

thumbbuilding community 2017It takes investment to build community. The citizens of Flagstaff County — the “Community of communities” — contributed nearly $6 million last year in support of a variety of activities and services.

Here is a breakdown of regional funding the County provided in 2020.

 

in the field with harry copyLast week I talked about nitrogen, primarily applied to annual crops, preferably banded, next to the seed row. But what about nitrogen fertilizer on perennial crops? This is another kettle of fish. It must be applied to the soil surface and risks of losses are greater, unless you have irrigation.

 

amanda wagnerFlagstaff County is now offering one-on-one business strategy sessions with business coach Amanda Wagner, to small businesses in the Flagstaff Region.

 

 

in the field with harry copySpring is rapidly approaching and that means seeding season. A large part of seeding costs is fertilizer. The most important nutrient for plant growth (after water), is nitrogen. How much is enough and how effective is your fertilizer application? To understand how this works we need to look at the nitrogen cycle.

 

most copyMunicipalities have experienced significant financial impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada are providing operating funding support to municipalities through the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST). This funding is provided as part of the Safe Restart Agreement.

 

in the field with harry copyAs spring approaches, many people have their crop varieties lined up, germination tested and cleaned. For those who are looking for the latest and greatest, it might be a good idea to review the factors that should be considered when choosing a new crop variety.

 

in the field with harry copyIt’s a good question and should be asked occasionally, especially when thinking about transitioning out of farming. Are you farming for the next generation to take over? Is there clear understanding between dad and the children?

 

 

in the field with harry copyDo you have a problem with gophers (a.k.a. Richardson’s ground squirrels)? There is no better time than now to prepare to do battle with these destructive rodents. Every one you get now means a lot fewer progeny in the summer.

 

 

century farm plaque300It's no secret that Flagstaff County – with one million acres of fertile farmland – is steeped in a rich farming tradition. But did you know that Flagstaff County is home to the most Alberta Century Farm and Ranch Award recipients?

 

in the field with harry copyLast week I talked about soil compaction and the effects it has on crop growth. I also mentioned gumbo soils. What is commonly called a “gumbo” soil is actually a soil type with structural problems. These soils are also known as Solonetzic soils and they have a heavy clay, impermeable or semi-impermeable layer just under the topsoil.

 

in the field with harry copyThere is a lot of talk about soil compaction, with plenty of machinery dealers willing to sell the newest and greatest implements to deal with it. However, do we really have a soil compaction problem? That is a question worth answering!

 

 

in the field with harry copyThere is a lot of talk about bees and pollination and modern agriculture. In canola production, they can work hand in hand. With hybrid canola production in Southern Alberta, producers use both honeybees and leaf cutter bees to boost canola seed yield.

 

 

in the field with harry copyThe provincial agriculture department recently released their survey for wheat midge in the province. Guess where they predict a hot spot for 2021? The north part of the county!

 

 

in the field with harry copyThe soil environment is a very complex place where many types of organisms live. There are protozoans, bacteria, nematode and fungi. Some are very useful to crop production. One of the most interesting ones, in my mind, is the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, or AM fungi, for short.

 

in the field with harry copyIt’s become very trendy lately to talk about soil and in terms of “health”. This naturally leads to the question of “What’s a healthy soil?”. It’s a good question and you probably won’t get many answers the same. For sake of argument, I would suggest it is strongly related to your soil organic matter.

 

in the field with harry copyCondition scoring cattle is a hands-on way of measuring the fat thickness over the back, tail head, hook and pin bones, ribs and brisket in a cow. It is a fairly direct way of measuring energy reserves in a cow and is linked to reproductive performance. It directly affects how easily a cow will winter and rebreed in the spring after calving.

 

in the field with harry copyIt might seem to be the wrong time of year to discuss this topic, but planning for extending the grazing season for 2021 starts now. The single biggest cost to raising a calf is the winter feeding cost for the cow. The longer you can keep your cattle out grazing in the field, the lower your machinery, fuel, and manure disposal costs will be.

 

in the field with harry copyIn many parts of the prairies there is a tendency to remove existing shelterbelts to create larger fields, to improve field efficiencies, and allow the use of larger farm equipment. This is not necessarily a gain but comes at a cost.

 

 

Abstract style illustration depicting printed circuit board components with a broadband concept.In today’s quickly evolving digital world, broadband is critical for vibrant, sustainable communities. A global pandemic has only reaffirmed our increasing reliance on staying connected virtually.

 

 

in the field with harry copyAlberta Agriculture has changed their website and moved a lot of good information around but there are still some very useful tools available to producers. You just have to look a little harder.

 

 

in the field with harry copyOwnership of anything is really only temporary stewardship. Farm land may be owned for generations but sooner or later, someone else will eventually decide what to do on the land and with the land. Some of you might want to preserve particular areas of your land that have a greater, personal significance to you.

 

in the field with harry copyPlastic grain bags and silage bags are great ways to provide temporary storage for agricultural crops at a reasonable price. With larger farms, and land being dispersed over a wider area, they are a practical way to store the crop. If the land is rented with no bins on site, a grain bag can solve short-term storage issues.

 

in the field with harry copyThere is now proof that leaving sloughs and poor areas in grass and trees benefits the bottom line for farmers. A landscape ecologist has proof that leaving the wet, poor areas in perennial vegetation can boost yields in the rest of the field.

 

 

in the field with harry copyPreviously, I broadly talked about nutrient requirements for livestock in terms of energy and protein and macrominerals. This column looks at the no-less-important microminerals.

 

 

whats wrong with my treesJoin Toso Bozic, founder of Yard Whispers, and horticulture expert Rob Spencer as they dig into a weekly video series titled: What's Wrong with My Trees?

 

 

in the field with harry copyEveryone has seen those white crusts around sloughs and in low areas. They are costly, non-productive parts of the field and they seem to spread each year. All that will grow in them is kochia and foxtail barley.

 

 

in the field with harry copySoil testing is done one of two ways. There is the old-fashioned way of wet chemistry. That is where chemicals are used to extract the nutrients in question. A newer, quicker, way is using near infrared reflective spectroscopy to get a reading.

 

 

in the field with harry copyFall is an excellent time to be testing your soil and planning for the 2021 growing season. It saves valuable time in the spring, can allow you to purchase fertilizer for 2021 when nitrogen costs tend to be lower, and, when done when soil temperatures are 5˚ to 7˚ C or lower, can be as accurate as spring sampling.

 

in the field with harry copyDo you feed the same minerals to cattle, year after year? As feed quality and feed supplies vary from year to year, so too the mineral package needs to be adjusted. Using green feed, swath grazing or silage as the primary winter feed requires different mineral packages than a hay, grain and straw winter ration. Also, stage of pregnancy, age, condition and class of cattle will require different minerals. It all starts with testing your feed supply.

in the field with harry copyWe’ve had one of the best falls in recent memory and most of the crop is harvested. There’s even time to get ahead of next spring’s work. Fertilizing in the fall can help cut down on spring work. So, what are the benefits of fall fertilizing?

 

 

in the field with harry copyToday, everything and everyone requires certification for tasks that were previously considered an exercise in common sense. Since there is precious little of that left there has be a move to regulate a lot of activities. One that has been around for about 30 years is the Farmer Pesticide Certificate program.

 

in the field with harry copyA nice fall for harvesting must come once in a while and this year has worked out. Crops are coming off dry and hay and greenfeed can finally be taken off at the right moisture levels.

 

 

in the field with harry copy

It doesn’t happen often but fall control of winter annual weeds and problem perennial weeds can be an effective and cost-effective way to clean up fields prior to next spring.

 

 

in the field with harry copyHarvest is well under way and we finally have some decent harvest weather. Now is not the time to let down your guard. Be careful of that hard-won crop in the bin. You can’t relax just because it is in the bin.

 

 

in the field with harry copyWhile conducting crop surveys lately, I've noticed a few thieves lurking in the fields in the area. These are thieves, robbing crop yield yet not obvious to the casual observer. The results of their work usually show up when you get less yield than the straw or crop volume would indicate.

 

in the field with harry copyThis time of year you may often find county staff wandering around your fields. They are identifiable by their safety vests and county trucks parked at the side of the road. They aren’t doing this to irritate you or for the exercise, they are conducting surveys.

 

 

in the field with harry copyAfter an improved hay season from 2019 (the harvest from hell), some may be thinking there is a good second cut of hay out there. Most of our hay crops are a mix of grass and alfalfa.

 

 

in the field with harry copyLast week I talked about the appropriate use of glyphosate in the fall for perennial weed control. Now we’ll discuss what is the right timing to apply the glyphosate and actual desiccants.

 

 

in the field with harry copyPeople often get confused about what a pre-harvest application of glyphosate should do. You often hear people referring to glyphosate application as “desiccation”. Glyphosate is not registered for desiccation. It is a herbicide meant to kill plants and it does a good job at that.

 

in the field with harry copyA lot of people are noticing the gophers running around now. Is this the right time to be trying to control the gophers? Not really. They are not even really gophers. They are Richardson ground squirrels and they have been a pest in our fields for a very long time.

 

in the field with harry copyFusarium graminearum is a disease of cereals. It most often affects wheat but can affect barley, and to a lesser extent, oats. It primarily infects the seed in the head as it starts to develop and the spores set up shop in the kernels just as the head is emerging from the stem until the head flowers.

 

in the field with harry copyOnce again, hay season is turning out to be a very wet time of year. High humidity and frequent showers are making it difficult to bale hay in good condition. There is a number of alternatives to harvesting hay in wet weather.

 

 

in the field with harry copyDue to very wet conditions this year, there is a lot of fungicide being applied to crops right across the board. You see tracks in the field of almost all crops, from cereal to canola to peas. Is this a good idea?

 

 

in the field with harry copyGet your boots out and get into the field and scout your fields on a regular basis. You can do it yourself or hire out agronomists to do it for you.

 

 

in the field with harry copyDriving around the county, there is a disturbing amount of encroachment into the county road allowance. This can be the case where the ditch is being farmed to within a couple of feet of the actual road, or spray booms having over-sprayed the crop and killed out the grass in the ditch. It also includes the farming of undeveloped road allowances.

 

in the field with harry copyIn 2018, Flagstaff County Land Use Bylaw 09-18 was passed. It states: “No trees, brush or native wetland vegetation shall be cleared from any land within 30.0 m (98.4 ft) of any spring, creek, wetland, river or lake.” Exceptions are given to construct a road, trail or fence or if clearing is in conjunction with a recreational development where a development permit has been issued.

 

flagstaffonline showcase sm post 1Don't worry if you missed any of the LIVE Facebook broadcasts in our #FlagstaffOnline Showcase. Links to the videos from each of the four day-long events can be found below.

Discover local entrepreneurs, creators, and experiences in the Flagstaff Region with virtual tours, how-to's, opportunities to #ShopLocal and much more.

 

flagstaff waste logoThe good folks at Flagstaff Waste have asked us to remind residents to please use the community compost and recycling bins as they are intended. As evidenced in these recent photos, a small minority of residents have not been doing so, resulting in entire bins having to be disposed of in the landfill – which defeats the purpose of the composting and recycling programs.

 

drainagethumb copyUnder the Water Act, landowners are NOT permitted to drain any wetland without first obtaining provincial authorization.

This spring, we have received complaints about landowners draining water from fields to adjacent land. This practice is becoming all too common.

 

webroadIf you are hauling more than 10 loads of 11,797 kg or greater in a 24-hour period to or from the same location within Flagstaff County, then you are required to enter into a Multiple Load Road Use Agreement (MLRUA) with Flagstaff County.

 

 

skyler zelinskiCongratulations to Flagstaff County Peace Officer Skyler Zelinski on receiving his 12-year Alberta Emergency Services medal.

 

 

 

tanzanian officials thumbFrom Africa to Australia, Flagstaff County has received some positive interest from around the world in recent months.

Tanzania’s ambassador to Canada paid the County a visit over the summer to see first-hand the use of Gravelock, a soil stabilization product used to strengthen road subgrade.

 

web map copyThe latest aerial photos of Flagstaff County are now available through Web Map, our interactive, online mapping application.

Web Map, which offers access to a wide range of useful municipal land information, including detailed aerial photography, can be accessed by logging in as a guest HERE.

 

ohs farm ranch flipbook 1The Government of Alberta has published a handbook that introduces the fundamental rights and responsibilities employers and workers have when it comes to occupational health and safety on Alberta farms and ranches.

 

 

 

beeboxDid you miss our Build-a-bee-box Workshop? We can only imagine how much that must've stung! That's why we've put together the following video demonstrating how to build your own bumble bee house at home.

 

 

 

recfundingSince 2015, Flagstaff County has been providing $750,000 annually in recreation grant funding to the Agricultural Societies throughout our municipality. We are appreciative of the Ag Societies for their efforts in distributing this funding within our region.

 

 

appthumbAgriculture Canada has released the Cereal Aphid Manager, an easy-to-use mobile app that helps farmers and crop advisors control aphid populations in wheat, barley, oat or rye. The app predicts what the aphid population will be in seven days and the best time to apply insecticide.

 

 

efpEffective April 1, 2018, producers will need to have an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) completion letter dated within the last 10 years to be considered current and eligible for cost-share funding with the Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change programs of the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP).

 

atlasthumbJust in time for Christmas, the Battle River Watershed Alliance is launching a new hardcover coffee table book in which the Flagstaff Region is featured prominently.

Titled the Traversing Terrain & Experience Atlas, this publication is composed of a compilation of stories, art, photography, geography, and interesting facts.

 

balsamthumbDon’t let the disarming charm of its pink, funnel-shaped flower fool you.

Himalayan Balsam is an aggressive invader of wetlands, streams and moist woodlands, where it chokes out native vegetation, damaging riparian biodiversity.

 

goatthumbIt was an especially productive season for Flagstaff County’s favourite bearded weedeaters.

Between May 20 and the end of July, as many as 180 goats grazed a quarter-section of Flagstaff County-owned land near the Town of Hardisty in a cost-effective bid to purge the area of an infestation of leafy spurge.

2017 stars lands copyEvery time STARS air ambulance lands in our region, we are reminded of how fortunate we are to have this vital service.

 

 

 

fleabeetlesThere’s a beetle invasion taking place on two Hardisty-area farms.

But not to worry. It’s all part of an innovative weed control program that Flagstaff County’s Agricultural Services department is spearheading in partnership with the Alberta Invasive Species Council.

 

 

 

fortislogoThe Hamlet of Strome has been awarded a $2,500 community grant through FortisAlberta’s annual Tree Planting Project.

The grant is earmarked for the Trees for Strome project, an initiative that aims to replace up to 47 "decaying or defective" trees in Strome as identified in a tree risk assessment conducted last fall.

 

meyers150Flagstaff County and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) are proud to announce a partnership dedicated towards conserving the Meyers property, an ecologically significant piece of land along the Battle River.

This project is of particular importance as it represents the first time NCC and Flagstaff County have partnered to conserve a property owned by the municipality.

beetle150wLeafy spurge has been “bugging” Wyatt and Theresa Bitzer for years.

This summer, the Hardisty-area farmers are finally turning the proverbial tables on the persistent perennial weed – by unleashing 4,000 flea beetles on a patch of their infested land.

The tiny black beetles, referred to scientifically as aphthona lacertosa, are known to have a voracious appetite for leafy spurge.

Flagstaff County has taken inventory of a valuable part of the region’s rich heritage: its barns.

Over the summers of 2016, 2017 and 2018, university student Sydney Hampshire spearheaded this important project to help bolster the understanding and appreciation of rural agricultural history right here in Flagstaff County.