Wow, what a crop.
I was on the road a fair bit the past few weeks (OK when am I not?) and got up-close with some of the biggest crops I have ever seen on the Prairies.
Even irrigated crops would have a hard time rivalling some of these dry land monsters. Heck, I even have a couple on our own farm — for neighbours, you know I am not talking about my flax, my day job interfered with seeding and spraying it.
We all know that early seeding delivers the biggest yields. We got into fields early, and for the first 10 days of the season there was an uninterrupted planting run. Then a little rain for those of us in the middle and eastern Prairies, a little frost, then more seeding, followed by more rain, followed by more seeding, followed by spraying, followed by… you get the idea.
As well, we’ve seen some better than average heat units, improved seed, fertilizer and weed control and the vast majority of acres were planted using recent technology — that’s a combo that adds up to big crops.
This is not Mr. Palliser’s droughty Prairies and Great Plains. I know parts of Alberta were drier than people might have liked, while a few people in parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba got too much rain too quickly, but for most it has been one of the best growing seasons anyone can remember.
I made some rainfall maps ahead of public speaking gigs, comparing average prairie moisture in May, June and half of July and that process indicated only about 15 percent above average precipitation fell.
But what stood out was when it was delivered. Generally, it came in smaller amounts every week or so, just when things were drying out.
It is still a long way to harvest, but other than some interim peril that I will not name, these 10 or so specialty crops we rely on, canola, hard red spring wheat, durum, lentils, peas, flax, chickpeas, mustard, canaryseed, oats, rye, etc., will be in good supply come harvest time.
Yes, there will be more poor quality lentils around than usual this winter, but there will be more lentils overall. And it could be good year to try straight-cutting the canola, because it can be a bear to swath crops that large.
Time for me to clean out the last of the bins. Anybody need 5,000 bushels of No. 3 durum for delivery in the next two weeks?