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A drilled well needed to find reliable water

Eppich News: Harvest begins in late July as crops mature early

Gregory and Joseph get a look at the water that is baled out of the test hole. A proper well will need to be drilled.

The middle of June was busy with summerfallow, fence fixing and breeding mares. We bred a few mares to outside stallions this year with hopes of getting some fillies to keep for our breeding program.

June 26 we got the last of the cows off of hay and out to pasture. We had kept 10 pair at home to breed to the old Black Angus bull, Freddy. When we took them out to the pasture, we pulled the old bull and put in a young Red Angus bull to do any cleanup work. We bought Freddy as a five-year-old and he worked for us for five seasons. We’ve kept almost all of his heifers, and his steer calves were always uniform and weighed up nice come fall. The cherry on top was when we took him to the sale, we were very close to getting back what we originally paid for him. He was always good to handle and never gave us cause to cuss him at all. He will be greatly missed.

Joseph has been helping me check the pastures this year. He is always ready to ride and has natural balance and confidence. It makes it both nice and challenging to work with him because he sometimes thinks he can handle more than he is ready for. He has partnered up with my gelding Danny pretty well — he has seen quite a bit in his days and takes pretty good care of Joseph.

July 8 we attended Gregory’s Grandma Guth’s funeral. She would have been 97 years old this fall. It was nice to see some of the family, but we wish it had been under different conditions.

New water source needed

This year has been very dry and it started this spring with hardly any snow over the winter. Our dugout at Landis had just enough run-off to fill but not enough to flush it out. That combined with hardly any rain this year to freshen the water up has led us to have problems. The cows have started having diarrhea and losing weight. We are beginning to worry that if the sulphate levels are high enough, they may even begin to lose their 2022 calves. So we decided to try to look for water.

After Gregory and John did a little water witching and found the stream, we called in a friend to dig with the neighbours’ backhoe. Sadly, we couldn’t get deep enough to get to the water, so we called in Wangler Construction and he tried with his excavator. Sadly, we had the same luck. We knew the water was there but we didn’t know how far down it was.

Gregory decided to call my grandpa Lynn Thomas to see if he could get some pointers on how to tell how far down the water may be. Grandpa Thomas is very respected as a water witcher and he is highly sought after in the Salmon, Idaho area. After talking to Grandpa for a while, Gregory went out to try his luck. With an idea of how far down the water may be, we scheduled a well-drilling company from Saskatoon to come out and dig some test holes in all three pastures. It was amazing. Within a couple of feet, Gregory’s estimate was right on.

We decided to develop a well on two of the pastures. It will be an expensive project for us, but we hope to take advantage of the rebate through the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program. Hopefully, this will help us have good water in the years to come, no matter how dry they may get. Until we can get the wells dug and the solar pump systems set up, we are hauling water every day for the cows.

July 31 harvest officially started as we combined our fall rye. It did pretty well considering the cold spring, the lack of moisture and the hot days. Gregory got to try out his new-to-us JD 8820 long enough to make sure it was working well before he turned it over to me. The rest of the crops are coming on fast and the days are more than busy as we scramble to make what hay we can while harvest is looming over us.

About the author


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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