Research station suffers ‘worst year yet’ Mother Nature mostly to blame

It was not a great year for the Emo Agriculture Research Station, which is closing today (Nov. 30) for the winter.
In fact, technician Kim Jo Bliss said it was the “worst year yet” primarily because of the weather.
“Early spring was okay,” she noted. “But then it got really wet throughout the rest of the spring and hot in the summer, then wet again.”
She said her biggest fear always has been not completing the plowing—and it happened this year.
“When the weather was decent in September, I was still busy doing trial-related jobs and I missed out on some good plowing weather,” she remarked, noting the weather became very wet again after that.
Plowing in the fall prepares the fields for planting in the spring, so by not getting the fields plowed this year, Bliss said she likely won’t be getting off to a great start in April when the research station opens again.
Bliss added while it was one of the wettest years, it also was a very warm year, which proved to be unfortunate research-wise.
For instance, the early-seeded cereal trials (barley, wheat, and oat) were okay, but after that—with very late seeding dates—the station had horrible results.
The forage yields (alfalfa and grasses) were far from outstanding, as well.
“We can blame the weather,” Bliss stressed. “Cold and wet for the spring growth and then hot and wet for the second growth.
“It does seem as though it was a no-win kind of year for us here in Rainy River [District].”
Bliss also indicated staff at the research station did not plant any trees this year, although they did offer some help to a group that planted trees across from the Emo Cemetery.
They also felt out other trees that weren’t doing too bad, but then it turned cold and wet and the trees did little then. In fact, some actually froze back.
Bliss said she found the clarifibre—a useable resource—is holding a lot of moisture.
“I guess it [moisture] has very little places to go in a wet year like this,” she remarked, adding they did a very detailed bunch of measurements on the trees this year, which was very time-consuming.
Bliss’ summer students this year were Noreen Hartlin and Stephanie Strachan, who both attend the University of Manitoba.
“Neither girl is from a farm background, [but] they were extremely eager to learn and dig in and get the job done,” she said, noting it was unfortunate they had to spend more time indoors than they would have preferred.
Bliss said she also hired Greg Haglin for three weeks earlier this fall to help complete a few projects, which she was very grateful for.
“I appreciated his help this year as I was starting to get in the panic mode,” she admitted.
Despite the poor weather, Bliss said she is looking forward to doing more research again next year, adding no matter what the weather is like, she and her team are always learning.
“We do research to see what will do well here and what won’t,” she explained, indicating she is hoping for better weather in 2006.
“Good weather doesn’t have to be perfect,” she stressed. “But I hope the weather co-operates and is normal next year—if I even know what normal is anymore.”