A friend of mine who works on the oil rigs says he doesn’t
like being out on the prairie because there is nothing to see. But I beg to
differ. I just got back from an amazing road trip from Calgary to Neerlandia
(north of Edmonton) and the drive there and back was like a carnival of
And of course being up in that Barrhead/Westlock area it is
a no-brainer to begin with. It is well known it is an area where you can take
50 per cent germ test, 10-year-old, bin-run wheat seed, throw it on a gravel
road and still get 65 bushels per acre — it is Nothing-But-Money Country. It is like Disneyland up there.
So here is a sampling of some of the things I saw, this day:
of Neerlandia you will find Neeralta Welding operated by the Wierenga brothers
who are now running the fabricating shop steady trying to keep up to
orders for the Neeralta Grain Bagger. It is a extremely well built, 10
foot bagger (a 12 foot model will be introduced for 2012) that comes with
an attached swing auger, and large 8’ x 10’ foot loading hopper. You can
learn more about it at www.neeraltawelding.com.
every pea field north of Edmonton looked this good, but Headline fungicide
from BASF can no doubt take some credit for producing this excellent
stand. The crop still had the odd flower, but it was loaded with pods so
barring any serious weather events it should produce a very respectable
Schmidt of Pioneer Seed did a great job of recommending P7213R hybrid corn
to a grower/dairy farmer just north of Neerlandia. This field of the 2050
heat unit variety was standing about seven feet tall and weed free. Plenty
of moisture in this area, though, as I had to pick my spot to cross the
is the mystery photo of the day — what caused these less mature strips in this field of canola. I
saw several similar fields in the drive from Barrhead to Westlock and down
to Edmonton. There was lots of variation in maturity in different fields
but these strips made me think it had something to do with seeding or
spraying. But that didn’t really make sense. And then I wondered if it had
something to do with soil compaction. I have a Grainews cap for the first
person who can give me a reasonable explanation for the strips.
Foremost wheat isn’t a new variety by any means, but it looked to be
performing well in this field near Westlock. Developed by Ron DePauw at Ag
Canada in Swift Current, nearly 20 years ago, it is a high yielding, shorter, early maturing wheat, with strong straw, good sprouting
resistance and bunt resistance. Cyre Seeds of Barrhead is the local agent
for this SeCan variety.
Farm Centre at Westlock had a good selection of new-to-you combines
including Claas and Cat Lexion combines and New Holland combines. Yellow
wasn’t the only color in the yard, but it was predominant there as well as
at the Pentagon Farm Centre on Highway 2 near Red Deer.
is not a picture of Invigor canola (on the right). Not sure what it was
exactly, but it was a dirty mess. It would be a good poster picture
emphasizing the value of crop protection products, or perhaps the penalty
of not controlling weeds. It might have even been a field of volunteer
canola that never got the chemfallow treatment. Not far from there, (left
photo) was this excellent field of Bayer CropScience’s Invigor 5440,
released about five years ago. It is a medium height, high yielding
variety, with yields about 135 per cent of check varieties. I found it
interesting to note I saw many more full bloom fields south of Edmonton
than I did north of Edmonton.
- If you
need a new-to-you air seeding system or combine header check out this
Bourgault air seeder and Case IH, 25 foot header south of Westlock on
Highway 41. It probably did its duty for this year and now it is time for it to be re-homed. I think there was some land for sale just across the
road from this equipment, so you could probably buy the whole package and
be set up and ready to roll next spring. If you are interested in the machinery
call 780-939-2132. (I get a finders fee).
cereal herbicides near Leduc both seemed to perform very well. On the
north side of the road was Dow AgroSciences Prestige, with three active
ingredients for control of Canada Thistle, sow thistle and many other
common broadleaf weeds in cereals. And, on the south side Bayer
CropScience’s fairly new Tundra herbicide, which is an all-in-one
formulation for grassy and broadleaf weeds. Both crops looked like they
were doing very well.
where is Captain Copper (Dr. Ieuan Evans) when you need him? I saw some excellent stands of wheat south of Edmonton but some had patches of lodging, which Ieuan over the years has maintained, is often a
sign of copper deficiency in the soil. (Ieuan was a long time plant
pathologist with Alberta Agriculture and is now a senior coach with
AgriTrend Agrology). The untrained eye may blame this leaning crop on high
winds and heavy rains, but I am going with the copper deficiency angle.
- I saw
lots of hay on the trip — lots of brown hay in the country. It was a
beautiful sunny day, but no one was baling by 2 p.m. although I saw a
couple guys out raking. I noticed quite a few places using the bale wrap
on large round bales, instead of twine. It may help with weathering a bit,
but my brother-in-law who just started using a John Deere baler with
wrapper this year says the big feature is time. He says he saves about two
minutes making each bale with wrap instead of twine, which may not seem
like a lot, but if you put up 500 bales that’s about 16 fewer hours and
with 1000 bales it is 32 hours. Those could be important hours if you are
rushing against the weather, or would just rather be doing something else.
when you get down in the Ponoka/Lacombe area I saw both fat cattle and
horses doing well on pasture and in a feed yard. This yard of draft horses
was south and west of Ponoka and the rainbow cattle herd looked to be
doing very well on ample pasture near Bles Wold Dairy just west of