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September rain interrupts harvest plans

Eppich News: It was a multitasking month with harvest, hay and cattle

September started with about half an inch of rain Sept. 2. There was service work to be done on the combines before we could start harvest however, so it didn’t hold up work. By Sept. 4 Gregory and John slowly started cutting ditches and swathing crop again.

On mid-afternoon Sept. 6 we started combining. There was heavy dew in the mornings so we never got a chance to get started very early, but for the next few days John and Joseph and I were in the combines. Gregory was our trucker and mechanic, and whenever he got a few minutes he took the baler out to bale more ditch hay. We had a good run going until Sept. 9. The dew was heavy that morning and the temperature never quite got high enough to dry the wheat. Later it rained so we knew we were shut down for a while. However, Gregory was able to finish baling the wheat straw north of the yard before it got wet.

For several days, Gregory and John worked on the combines. On Sept. 13 they started swathing the crop again. That evening we had another tenth of rain. It warmed up enough the next day that the guys were able to keep swathing.

On Sept. 15 Gregory and John headed out after Mass to continue swathing. Meanwhile, Joseph and I headed to Landis to check the cows and calves. The Landis pasture is doing well and so we were hoping to be able to stretch our winter feed a bit by grazing the hayfield that was hailed out. Our biggest challenge won’t be the feed, but the water quality. In February of 2018 we had a water sample tested and it was incredibly high in sulphates and total dissolved solids. By early April after the runoff the levels were dramatically lower. We had another sample tested in early September and the levels are on the rise again due to evaporation. They are still within safe levels but we will have to keep checking it throughout the fall.

We were back in the field Sept.16 and had a good run for a few days. We were able to finish combining a field of wheat for John and two fields of our barley. On Sept. 19 we were shut down again by 7/10ths of rain. For the next few days we made parts runs and worked on the combines.

We started combining standing oats Sept. 22. John and I combined while Gregory swathed ahead of us and made sure we always had a place to unload. It wasn’t quite as dry as we like but with the forecast calling for snow, we had to try. After the oats field we moved over to another one of John’s wheat fields and Gregory swathed and trucked while John and I combined. Again, it wasn’t quite as dry as we had hoped and it will create more work this winter trying to get it to keep but at least that field is in the bin and not under snow.

About the author

Contributor

Heather Eppich is a young former Idaho rancher building a new farm and family with her husband and young son, near Handel, Sask. Contact her at: [email protected]

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