2012 – What Happened?

Living in Meadow Lake brings surprises every year. In agriculture, we ride the rollercoaster of weather and we see where we land. This year was no different. We had wet, we had dry, we had cold and we had hot. Some of the weather was good news and some of it was bad. Here are a few comments as to what I saw out in the fields this year. We started out expecting to see grasshoppers. They never came. Something in the spring or winter weather stopped the projected grasshopper infestation. This was one of the good things that weather did for us. The spring weather also brought cool conditions which slowed the growth in the fields. We got through these conditions without much frost injury to the crops but we had issues with spraying issues because of the cold nights. Cool temperatures during May means slow plant growth. Maybe this was the price that we had to pay for not seeing the grasshoppers. June came and so did the heat. The crops took off and we saw weed control like I’ve never seen before. The snow from the winter and the rains of the spring had filled the soil profile with moisture. The plants were set to grow. All hope was for a bumper crop in 2012. The kind of weather that we saw looked like it was possible. For wheat in the area, the weather allowed this to happen. For the rest of our crops, we were riding the rollercoaster of the weather. With heat, the plant’s requirement for moisture goes up. There were areas in the district that suffered from dry weather after our perfect start. The hay crop came off as expected but the second growth was slow to come in most areas. Mid-summer rains are needed to get the regrowth started. One other thing that heat does is bring on the bugs. We had lygus bugs, bertha armyworms and diamond back moth larva in our canola fields and many were sprayed trying to control these insects. We also had aster leafhoppers in our canola fields. This brought on the disease of aster yellows. This disease took a third of our yield potential of our canola. Once we got to fall, the rain started again. The wheat crop fared well but the other crops had problems. With the canola, the wet as well as the aster yellows extended the harvest. With the barley and oats, the wet weather brought harvest issues that showed up as reduced quality. In general, the grain was lighter and the quality was lower than usual. Some fields were so wet, that harvest could not be completed. This was made worse by a mid-October snowfall that stayed. When all is said and done, the prices for our crops have made an average to below average crop into a respectable income year. Weather in other parts of the world allowed us to get enough money for our crop to turn our year around. Weather and agriculture around the world affects us all. Happy New Year!!!

 

By Dave Cubbon, P Ag