Farmers truly at the mercy of weather

As we travelled across the prairies this past week, Marnie and I couldn’t help but see the difference in crop harvesting and the impact weather has played on this year’s crops across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Rainy River District is not alone in suffering from too much moisture during the months of September and October.
Much of the grains grown in the west end of the district were in wet, sodden ground and the ability to get on the fields was almost impossible.
We were travelling in a misty rain last Wednesday morning that was not aiding in drying out the fields.
Similarly, across northern Minnesota the grain fields also were often under water and one might think that the crop that should have been grown this year could have been wild rice.
Turning back into Manitoba, travelling north on Hwy. 12 ,we encountered the first signs of snow just north of the Piney junction.
We had chosen a new route across Manitoba that runs south of Steinbach and joins the Trans-Canada just north of Souris.
It offered us the opportunity to see parts of Manitoba that we have missed on other trips west.
When we turned onto Route 403, we began seeing our first plowed snow drifts along the side of the road. They were as high as a metre.
It was a gravel dirt road waiting for paving and a single grader was out grading the road.
The roads were all clear of snow. The ditches were full of water.
Creeks that are normally empty this time of year were flowing furiously.
As we crossed the Red River at Morris, the river was a torrent of water heading to Winnipeg.
The river was high, but not near flood level.
Many of the fields had captured the snowfall and only the heads of grain appeared.
The snowfall had brought Manitoba to a standstill just five days earlier.
Drainage ditches were often semi-frozen from all the snow that settled into the water.
Some of the crops were completely flattened and the windrows of grains that had been cut were often lying in water.
It was a sad sight to see. Only near the western edge of Manitoba did we see grain standing tall in the fields.
Once into Saskatchewan, farmers were already tilling their fields for next year’s crop. Most of the grain had been harvested along Highway 1.
As we approached Calgary, combines were active in the fields racing to get the grain harvested.
Loaded tractor trains raced along the roads heading to grain depots to drop their loads and return for more grain.
In one field, we counted five combines moving through the grain.
That area of Alberta had already experienced two large snowfalls and the fields were once again dry enough to harvest.
We often forget how farmers are often at the mercy of weather and the seasons.

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