Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Day 7 - A Day of Rest? Nope

Pancakes for breakfast with maple syrup which I have to say is a great way to start the day. After a catch up on the terrible flood at Calgary and Canmore (where we were on Monday) a neighbour of Ian's came over to say hello.  We chatted about crop marketing after the dissolution of the Canadian Wheat Marketing Board.  A move that was well over due and has freed the market up substantially.  Farmers are now able to grow what the customer desires.  Jeff is growing milling wheat specifically for the local mill, can organise the price, transport and when he wants to sell it.  Previously the movement period was dictated by the CWB, and only 80% of the expected value was paid on delivery.  The balance paid at the end of the season.  Seems a crazy really, farmers were even put in prison for selling wheat across the border to the US.
Here's a new crop for me, lentils.  These has some ascochyter developing on the lower leaves due to the wet humid weather.  The crop should be flowering in about a week and will, like everything else grow very quickly.
The crop below is a crop of 'Roundup Ready' Canola.  There are three main types of herbicide resistant Canola used in Canada, Roundup Ready, Clearfield and Liberty.  Each of these varieties are resistant to their specific family of herbicides.  This makes great sense to me.  Take our crops; they could potentially receive 4 different herbicides, with 4 different application timings and here they do just one.  Think of the fuel savings; in the pocket, but also a saving for the environment, of application fuel and manufacturing petro-chemicals.  To me there seems no problem with 'Biotech' crops from an agronomy point of view.  There is resistance to watch out for but we have that to manage now anyway.  There are over 100 different varieties of biotech crop.  The first stage in planning is to work out which family you want to use (best practise is one different to last time, so the volunteers are susceptible in the next crop), then you can choose for different traits, drought, yield, cold hardiness, shedding resistance etc, just as we would for conventionally bred varieties.  Imagine if we could use these crops in the UK and have them resistant to fungi, rusts, slugs or insects, we could cut down or reduce the amount of chemicals we currently use.  Imagine that no insecticides! Why should we take the moral ground in the EU and allow imports of selected GM produce, and have farmers elsewhere in the world growing them.  If it's safe for them to grow then it's safe for us.
Back to this crop.  It was planted on the 15th May and after 39 days it was at stem extension with green bud showing.  The stand was very even and the field just went on for a far as the eye could see.
When I got back to Saskatoon after fixing a puncture on the way; and driving 50Km very slowly on my mini wheel, all part of the Nuffield experience, I headed out with my host John Cote to a large auction house. Ritchie Bros has fairly regular auctions all over the province.  It was an incredible sight with 38 combines, 33 large sprayers, 24 swathers, trucks, trailers, augers, backhoes, rollers, seeders and the list goes on.  It was a very impressive sight.  I made it back to the auction on Monday but unfortunately missed the main items being sold.
I quite fancied a bid on the little McCormick below, obviously there were no green ones there, and I guess the haulage home might be a little inhibitive, never mind there will always be another time and place.

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