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My knowledge as of the Ides of March

The amount that I have learned since my last blog is scary. The real scary thing I learned – my editor said if I don’t write more timely blogs they may be looking for a new writer. (The ancient Romans seemed to have been acting on a similar impulse on this day in 44 B.C. when they assassinated Julius Caesar. I hope my day goes better.)

Mostly with the Blog thing, it’s not that I don’t have stuff to talk about or report on, but I forget and then I get lazy. So today I am catching up on a few things, in no particular order.

Workshop for the birds – and much more

I was excited when I saw the word perch. I thought it might have something to do with a fish fry, but no. The Battle River Research Group (BRRG) in north-easterly Alberta is sponsoring a one-day workshop March 26 on how to set up perches to attract raptors (hawks and eagles etc) to your fields to help control certain pests. There’ll be a presentation on how to build nesting poles. Also during the day there will be presentations on soil health, nutrient recycling, grazing and fencing. And to round out the day, tax tips for farm business. It all comes with a free lunch. That’s March 26 at the Elks Hall in Hardisty.

And if you make your way over to Holden (south of Vegreville) the next afternoon, March 27, the BRRG is holding a farmer’s appreciation night at the Holden Arena Complex. The $30 covers a steak dinner and you’ll also hear a presentation on using precision planters and get an update on clubroot disease in canola. For more details on all of the above contact the BRRG office at 780-582-7308 or visit their website at:

Crops and water

You’d better sit down for this — crops need water to grow. Okay, that’s not the newsy part. Do you know how much water they need? Here are some numbers from soil fertility specialist/agronomist Elston Solberg.

Research on water requirements shows:

  • 50,000 lbs of water for each bushel of wheat
  • 67,000 lbs of water for each bushel of canola
  • 32,000 lbs of water for each bushel of corn
  • 69,000 lbs of water for each bushel of soybeans


Looking at it from another perspective, research has shown that under good environmental conditions, for each 25 mm (1 inch) of water used, wheat produces five to seven bushels/acre, barley produces seven to nine bushels/acre and canola produces five to six bushels/acre.

It is amazing how much water a crop needs. This information is part of an article coming up in the March 26 issue of Grainews talking about the value of using soil moisture probes so you actually know how much water you have (crop yield potential). Interesting approach.

Correction on the 11 foot high Haulmaster Grain Cart 

Have you ever had to read a table of information and needed to use a ruler to make sure you were looking at the correct information all the way across a line? I need to do that. There is an article in a recent Grainews where I described the new

Haulmaster 2000 Grain Cart being introduced this year by Elmer’s Equipment of Manitoba. The loading side of the cart is 11′ 3″ high. In the original article I said it was 37 feet high. That was wrong — that’s the length. And then I wrote a correction that said it was 13 feet high — that’s wrong, that’s the width. So today I finally got my ruler out, looked at the specification chart again and confirmed the redesigned cart is 11 feet three inches high. If anyone began extending the height of their unloading auger to reach 37 feet, I apologize for that slight inconvenience. You’ll want to start cutting that down to size. My apologies to Elmer’s as well.


So now Canada is shipping contaminated canola seed to China. Ya, right. Of course it has nothing to do with China looking for any excuse to punish Canada for detaining a Chinese software executive for extradition to the United States. I shouldn’t say the late former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein had all the answers, but thinking back 15 years or so he made the off handed comment that the BSE crisis could have been avoided with “shoot, shovel and shutup” in other words hide the problem. I am not suggesting there should have been any harm to Huawei executive, but in hindsight Canadian Border Services could have just met her at Vancouver airport arrival gate and escorted her to the departure lounge and said “go home and don’t come back.” Man, Canada is in the middle of a political bout between two heavy weights and it looks like we’re the only ones taking the punches. It’s not even our fight. Also in hindsight if someone had just called the Prime Minister’s office I’m sure he or some of his aids could have found someway to make the problem go away — nudge, nudge, wink, wink, we need to save jobs – they would have thought of something. It is just the way you do business.

And still on politics, now there is a new federal minister of agriculture — the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau. I don’t doubt she is a very competent person, but I’ve always thought, particularly when it comes to agriculture, it makes sense to have a minister who is in someway knowledgeable about the agriculture industry. Farmers and commodity groups had just nicely got the former ag minister, Lawrence MacAulay, a Prince Edward Island farmer up to speed on key issues, now they have to start all over again. At least in this Commonwealth when the Queen takes on a job you know she’s going to be there for 60 or 70 years. You can always count on the Royals.

Welcome to heaven

The graveside service just barely finished, when there was massive clap of thunder, followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning, accompanied by even more thunder rumbling in the distance…

The little old man looked at the pastor and calmly said, ‘Well, she’s there.’

…..invest in a hearing aid

Morris, an 82 year-old retired farmer, went to the doctor to get a physical. A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.

A couple of days later, the doctor spoke to Morris and said,  ‘You’re really doing great, aren’t you?’

Morris replied, ‘Just  doing what you said, Doc: ‘Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.”

The doctor said, ‘I didn’t say that.. I said, ‘You’ve got a heart murmur;  be careful.’

Lee Hart is a field editor with Grainews based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]

















About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.


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