Crops looking good halfway to harvest

Coming off a lousy 2018, farmers having a much better year

In farming circles, whispering “bumper crop” in July is like talking about a shutout late in a hockey game — it’s jinx-y.

That being said, many farmers have high hopes for this harvest.

“The wheat crop on my quarter is the best crop I’ve ever seen on it,” said Delburne-area farmer Philip Massier.

“It’s lush, it’s tall. We’ve had the right moisture at the right time,” said Massier, a Red Deer County councillor, on Tuesday.

“Nobody wants to say bumper crop because the white combine could still come,” he said with a laugh, referring to crop-damaging early snowfalls, of which there were plenty last year.

“There’s a lot more hay coming up this year than last year. There’s just that air of optimism.”

Last July, Coun. Richard Lorenz, who raises cattle in the Markerville area, watched his silage crop dry out in his fields. His yields were half what they were a year earlier.

It’s a different story this year, said Lorenz. “The crops are unbelievable.”

Travelling the roads in his division, he was amazed how well hay was doing compared to just a week earlier.

“It’s nice crop. I have no idea if it is above average, but by the looks of it, it is.”

Lorenz expects to see farmers taking off the first hay crop in the next few days. That will give many time for a second crop if all goes well.

“Things are looking excellent,” said county Mayor Jim Wood, who farms near Delburne. “Should conditions stay the way they are, we’re probably looking at a bumper crop situation.

“We’ve had good rainfall throughout this region. I’m not aware of any area in Red Deer County that’s deficient at this point in time.”

Wood said the solid summer growing season has been good for farmers across the board.

“It’s huge. It’s not just the crops, it’s the pasture as well.”

Last year, many beef producers were looking for other sources of feed for their cattle, because pastures were so poor.

“This year, the same cattle will be standing in hay up to their bellies,” he said. “We’re in excellent shape that way.”

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