Some Combines Take To The Field — Others Sit This Inning Out
Next to the Bullpen as Some Crops Won't Bring Anything to the Plate

Drought Means Silaging Main Harvest Activity
Many combines are silent for the first time in a half century as drought conditions have forced changes to harvest plans across the M.D. of Provost—and north and south and into western Saskatchewan. The majority of farmers interviewed by The News report that they have never seen harvest conditions like this before.
Many crops are being turned into silage to feed cattle while other crops have been written off.

Rod Paulgaard is one of the farmers just north of Hayter who are concentrating on turning crops into silage to feed approximately 3,000 head of cattle.

Paulgaard, who with his father Cliff operate C. G. Paulgaard Farms Ltd. says that their crops were “burned up” but the second growth came and they got more feed than anticipated so they were happy with that. They may combine this fall—but only to get some straw for baling that will be used as bedding for the cattle.

Their operation is receiving about 30 truckloads of silage per day with each load averaging 12 tons of cereal silage. Paulgaard says that they have a “really good silage crew” operating three swathers, a silage machine, a packer and five trucks. He explains that they are trying to scrape up as much feed as they can and is now concerned over the rest of the crops freezing. They are trucking the silage from their own crops and purchasing others in the district with the farthest trip being just north west of Cadogan. The farmer estimates that they will use silage from 10,000 acres of land.

Their water supply, meanwhile is holding out because there is a good supply at the farm and there are “lots of dugouts with springs in pastures.” Paulgaard says that they send their cattle to both Calgary and Provost for slaughter. This winter they plan to custom feed cows as well as their regular chores.

The silage operation will continue from 6:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. most days until weather stops it.

Retired farmer Carl Stempfle, who has worked in many a harvest says that he has “never seen no combining like this year.” This is the first year on the family farm that his boys operate that the combine was not taken out. He says that one section of crop including barley, wheat and oats was left in the field south of Hayter—but they have crop insurance. Some crop will be turned into silage. Stempfle adds that the last time he saw harvest conditions so bad was in the 1950s.

Another retired farmer, Ed Schon, who has land with his son Jim seven and one half miles south of Hayter has combined 500 acres of wheat. So far, he says the crop has been “fair” and they are getting 15 to 17 bushels per acre. Schon remembers conditions like this but he has to think back to 1937 “when we fed our cattle Russian thistle and pig weed.” The heat, he says has caused more problems than the lack of rain and the crop was short this year. There was 120 acres of stubble written off with crop insurance. The grasshoppers meanwhile weren’t too bad because they were not beside grazing land. The farmers did do some spraying for the insects, though. Generally, Schon says their harvest is poor.

• Provost
Ten miles north of Provost Lily Read reports that their combines won’t be in operation this fall because “there’s nothing to combine . . . it’s too short.” The Reads planted mainly wheat, barley and oats and will be baling the crop. Before recent rains, crops looked like nothing at the farm but now some green feed is expected if frost stays away. All the crops were written off by an insurance adjuster. Read says that 38 yearling heifers were sold off due to drought but hope to re-build the herd later. They have enough feed as well as two wells in pastures and dugouts with water.

Lorne Olson was interviewed via cell phone as he sat on the swather five and one half miles north of Provost and says they will be combining some wheat and barley this fall. The farmer says he has never seen harvest conditions like this and it’s “probably the worst ever I can remember since I’ve been farming.” Yields are showing in the 20s for summer fallow, says Olson while the stubble wheat and barley are “close to the single digits.” Earlier grasshoppers hurt the crops quite a bit and they had some hailed crops written off. They don’t carry insurance. None of the cattle were sold off and Olson says they have some feed carried-over and some green feed. Their water supply however is an issue because it’s low in their dugouts with some having gone dry. They may have to haul water for the cattle. The drought “hasn’t been very promising” and generally compared to a normal year their harvest is “disastrous.”
Dennis Schug was at the controls of this combine—one of few that could be found so far during this year’s harvest as earlier drought conditions were hard on crops. The 68 year old farmer said he was getting about 30 bushels per acre of feed barley off of this land owned by Wilf Copeland of Cadogan. Normally between 40 and 80 bushels per acre would be expected.
©Provost News Photo

Eight and one half miles south west of Provost Ove Aasen says he “hasn’t even hardly thought of harvest” because the drought pushed his operations back much later. Aasen says combining operations will depend on Jack Frost for the second barley growth and just barley may be combined. The Provost farmer says he too, hasn’t seen conditions like this before and “I was hoping to get my seed back.” Although Aasen has crop insurance and some produce will be written off he has also turned his cows into one quarter. Last fall he sold some cows for lack of feed and now has one-third of his original herd. Rebuilding, he says depends on the amount of moisture that appears. In the meantime “I haven’t got a bale on the place.” Dugouts are dry in the pasture, he adds and he has been pumping water out of a well for the cows in the pasture. He too calls the general harvest very poor. His main concern however is feed grain for his pigs. He needs 30,000 bushels of barley and 10,000 bushels of wheat for his expanded operation.

For the farming status and more coverage on the following towns, villages, hamlets, and surrounding areas, see the full story in the September 18 Edition of The Provost News: Macklin, Chauvin, Hayter, Bodo, Hughenden, Amisk, Cadogan, Metiskow.

Print version of story and pictures in September 18 edition of The Provost News
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Hughenden, Provost Raise Money at Terry Fox Run
Story and picture in September 18 edition of The Provost News
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Czar Museum Gets Certificate From Museums Alberta
. . . and 40 page report
Story and picture in September 18 edition of The Provost News
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Donation Helps With Czar Ambulance Purchase
Story and picture in September 18 edition of The Provost News
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Street Spokesman
We asked: "Should Premier Klein Fight Ottawa Over the Kyoto Accord?"
. . . and we heard opinions from Mike Schnell, Brenda Lakevold, Ken Berry, Lily Read and Dan Gartner.
Check out the September 18 edition of The Provost News for the answers.
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