I just returned from the definitive world fieldwork tour assessing the state of seeding and pasture progress on farmland surrounded by the Tri-City area of Balzac, Beiseker, and Nightingale (just north and east of Calgary).
The executive summary — it is very quiet out there folks. Tractors and air seeders waiting for drier fields and cows and calves waiting for green grass.
Of the dozens of farms and thousands of acres I passed on a sunny May 13 afternoon I saw only three air seeding systems working and those farmers had bags over their heads to avoid identity. They obviously felt guilty to be farming higher ground. There were miles of undisturbed stubble.
I figured it might be a bit slow, but I was surprised at just how little fieldwork has been done so far this spring. I shouldn’t be because as recently as last Friday there was still a narrow band of snow along the back fence in my yard.
Lots of water in potholes, dugouts and meandering creeks. Just about every stop I made I could hear frogs croaking. Ducks and geese were camped on every slough.
I am going out on a limb and call it a late spring for farmers in this area. Mind you with a few warm, sunny, windy days they could be going full tilt, but the seven-day southern Alberta forecast calls for a series of rainy days over the next week. I hope the forecast is wrong.
Here are a few more photos from along the road.