Spring Seeding Ensues… Despite Challenges

In sitting down to type this, I feel as though I am not working as hard as I can be. Since Monday, sleep has been very short for me (as it has been for my father and my sister), so don’t judge me if some of my sentences seem a little off- I feel a little off. Nights that stretch into the early morning hours with a morning that begins as the sun rises gets to you after awhile.

We began seeding on Monday, choosing to start with canola, rather than our plan of seeding durum first. The reason for this is that canola is a more profitable crop and if we get poor weather going forward, we need to get as much of this crop in the ground as possible. Furthermore, we have a delivery contract that will pay us extra for early delivery (which may not happen now no matter what we do). The 13th of May is the latest start for us in my memory, but not the latest in my father’s memory. However, seeding this late carries major risks, most of which revolve around a wet late May. For a few days last week, it appeared as though this would indeed occur. Forecasts were calling for substantial rain to fall this weekend. Memories of 2011 surfaced once again.

Fortunately, this forecast proved to be wrong, and we continue to seed through the May long weekend. We have completed 30% of our crop so far, including 44% of our canola and   45% of our durum. We will be switching to peas and soybeans in a couple of days. This is very late to be seeding peas, but what choice do we have?

Field conditions are… difficult, to put it mildly. Although our equipment is all autosteer-ready, it seems that we spend more time turning than we do driving straight. A lot of water is still present in the fields. Unbelievably, there is still snow in some yards and sloughs. We have had three weeks now of warm weather, with temperatures climbing well into the high 20’s (Celsius) on multiple days. In my lifetime I have never seen snow last so long. This will provide us with stories for our grandchildren.

In an interesting juxtaposition, where water is not present many parts of the fields are surprisingly dry. They are almost to the point of being concerningly dry. Yes, I realize that this sounds like typical farmer complaints, and maybe it is. But one way or another, before this crop can germinate and rise from the soil from whence it was planted, a rain will be needed. 

Well, there is your update on our progress. We have had some mechanical issues with our liquid fertilizer pumps and our breakdown-prone sprayer, but hopefully we can keep things rolling. I look forward to going to sleep tonight. Exhaustion has not yet set in, but it is coming. Seeding continues…

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