Roll with the changes
March 20, 2017
By Brandi Cowen
In farming, as in life, change is often the only constant. In addition to new crops, the upcoming growing season will likely bring new agronomic challenges, be they changing disease, insect and weed pressures, or unpredictable weather conditions. To succeed, producers must be able to adapt in the face of changing circumstances – a fact farmers in some parts of the country were reminded of during last fall’s harvest.
Heavy, early snows across parts of Western Canada resulted in harvesting delays, and damp conditions throughout harvest threatened to compromise the quality of many of the crops producers were able to get into storage. In Brazeau County, Alta., 160 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, damp conditions throughout harvest were so problematic they prompted the county to declare an “agricultural state of disaster” in early November.
Wet conditions continued to create problems in much of the province, dashing the hopes many producers harboured of harvesting a bumper crop earlier in the season. In early December, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) issued a press release with advice to help producers cope with the unusually wet crops coming off their fields. Harry Brook, a crop specialist with AAF, advised producers working with grain at “unheard of moisture levels” to prepare for multiple passes of drying and cooling in order to bring moisture levels within safe parameters for storage.
Those producers who were able to adapt finished the growing season having learned important lessons that are sure to serve them well in the future. Many climate models, including those prepared by Environment and Climate Change Canada, predict shifts in precipitation patterns in the coming years that could leave the Prairies facing periods of high moisture alternating with periods of drought. Lessons learned now will serve producers well going forward, as each growing season brings new challenges – and new opportunities. Those who can adapt to whatever the season throws at them will see their operations thrive and grow well into the future.
Here at Top Crop Manager, we’ve been adapting to some exciting changes of our own. My co-editor, Stefanie Croley, began maternity leave earlier this year, ahead of the birth of two healthy babies. Those new arrivals resulted in a new arrival at the office as well. Jannen Belbeck has joined the Top Crop team as assistant editor. Jannen, an experienced magazine editor, and I will be working together very closely over the coming year to continue bringing you the leading-edge information you’ve come to expect from this publication.
I know I speak for everyone at Top Crop Manager when I say we look forward to celebrating successes, confronting challenges and weathering whatever may come with you, our loyal readers.