Editorial: The last push before the big day
August 15, 2022
By Stefanie Croley
I’ve always imagined that, for those who grow crops, September’s arrival feels somewhat like the busy week before Christmas.
Like the holidays, harvest season is a highly anticipated special occasion, and there’s a hum of thoughtful eagerness as it approaches. Everything starts to fall into place after weeks (or months) of preparation. There are still a few important things that need to happen before the big day arrives, but the end is near, and all the hard work that goes into making the year special is about to be on display.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – that’s a nice thought, but we all know the last few Septembers haven’t been as picture-perfect as a Christmas card scene. As I write this column in early August, things are moving forward with cautious optimism, but we still don’t have a reliable crystal ball to anticipate how harvest will go, and what yields will look like. Crops are in varying states across the Prairies, with many regions seeing great progress and conditions. But, like every year, there have been challenges along the way. Manitoba saw an incredibly difficult seeding season, with excess rain and late-seeded crops. Dry conditions and increased pest pressure have caused damage in Saskatchewan (and having just returned from a farm show in the Langham area, I can confirm – grasshoppers were rampant!). In some regions of Alberta, crop development was described as “slightly behind normal” near the end of July, and mid-summer storms caused devastating damage in the southern part of the province.
As we enter September – the final stretch before the big event – the last-minute plans come into play. And here’s where the real comparison to Christmas comes in, if you’ll indulge me for a moment. We can plan and prepare, buy an extra gift, set an extra seat at the table, and do all the things we’re supposed to do . . . but we still might overcook the turkey. The same thing can be said as harvest approaches. Decisions will be made under pressure and things can change quickly. There’s an ongoing hope for ideal conditions, knowing that an early frost (or other weather events that shall not be named) could have devastating effects. One small setback can derail the entire plan.
But when the day arrives, it’s both a celebration and culmination of sorts – even if it doesn’t look as perfect as you had hoped. And when it’s over, there’s a huge sigh of relief – and hopefully a warm meal, a cozy place to land, and a long, well-deserved rest . . . before planning for next year begins.