Wednesday, 2 December 2015

2015: My year on the Farm


  This past year I've seen many changes and had many opportunities. I wrote some of them down so I could share my year in farming.

  Thanks to Brian Kennedy at Alberta wheat, the year started out with the opportunity to go to  the Canadian International Grain Institute in Winnipeg. It was a great experience to learn more about the grains we produce and how they are promoted throughout the world. The people at CIGI were fantastic and I had a chance to talk with many fellow farmers.

Combine to Customer 2015



Learning about falling numbers
Fresh Pasta

Lots of valuable info from the speakers






The weather in February and March was mild and this made it easier to haul grain. Still had to push some snow though.



April brought some strong winds. YIKES!


And repairs




  Seeding started about the 20th of April with the peas going in and it was a little wet in places. Seeding went well and everything was in the ground by May 20th. This included my first ever Canola plot and Soybeans thanks to Dekalb and the help of Mitch Nesbitt and Erin McDougall.
















  May brought some rains that helped everything off to a good start and then the tap shut off and things were starting to go backwards. Good thing it didn't get really hot during this time

  June was one of the driest I have ever seen. Every farmer you talked to was getting very worried that this year could be a write off. But the crops were holding on, the subsoil reserves from last falls rains were paying dividends now. The crops were staying green but it was hard to be optimistic at this point.



  I attended Canola Palooza at the Lacombe research station in June and got to listen to some very knowledgeable people there, including Tom Wolf who talked on spraying and Scott Meers who is a wealth of information when it comes to crop pests in Alberta. 


  I also met Jay Whetter from Canola Digest at Canola Palooza and we talked a bit about my past experiences as a grower and he stopped by Trochu for coffee and wanted to include me in a write up in the magazine. It was fun to be part of the article






  All the in crop spraying was completed and then all I could do was sit back and hope for some rain, and around the middle of July we finally got some. It was a long period with next to no moisture. I'm still amazed at how well the crops held on.



  In July I attended the grand opening of the Cargill crush plant in Camrose. It's very impressive and will hopefully bring more value to our local canola crop with the addition of another market.



  August was a good month for the crops and they seemed to turn the corner and it looked as though we might get half decent yields. The soybeans really advanced during this month with all the sun. My youngest daughter Kaley helped out on the farm this summer cleaning up around the yard. It was great that she saw what needed to be done and just went ahead and did it.







  By the end of August we finished threshing the yellow peas and all the malt barley and even took off some wheat. Things were starting to look like an early harvest but I should have known better.





  September brought lots of challenges with all the rain, and harvest was put on hold but eventually we got going again. Yields were average and I was pleasantly surprised as were many other area farmers. Goes to show that you don't know what you got till it's in the bin.



  December is usually just all about doing some books, preparing for Christmas and maybe hauling some grain but this year is a little different. I attended the discussion meeting in Red Deer on Bill 6 (Alberta farm safety legislation). I went to find out how this will change my farm. Safety is important to me and I want anyone who helps me to be safe. I think having WCB in place for the people who give me a hand during the year is a good thing. Our farm and ranches in Alberta are already safe places to work so little will need to be changed. Only time will tell how Bill 6 will affect our farms but I'm choosing to look at it in a positive light for now.





  This year started out with the passing of my father William at the age of 90. He had loved farming his whole life and passed that onto me. Dad started with nothing in the early 50's and worked hard his whole life. I couldn't help but be reminded of us working together  as I went about my daily jobs and during all the milestones of the past farming year. 




  It was a year of many ups and downs and next year will be no different, there will be many challenges and hopefully many successes in our industry as we navigate through public perception and new government legislation. But at the end of the day I have great faith in the men and women of agriculture that we will meet these challenges and continue to feed the world.





Here's to a great 2016