June 17, 2009

It’s dry out there

I don’t like to drive through the countryside when the pastures aren’t turning green, the tiny canola is turning blue, and the sun beats down mercilessly. You’d think since we rented out the farm the weather shouldn’t stress me. It doesn’t, not like it used to, but I still hurt with my neighbours.

Last week I complained it was too cold. Now it’s very warm, but without the much needed rain it feels like a bad joke.

Farmers are still feeding cows as they wait for rain so pastures can grow. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Farmers are still feeding cows as they wait for rain so pastures can grow. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

The drought is especially tough on cattle farmers – although there are less of them than there used to be. Several of our neighbours have quit with cattle, or are selling off their herds. They just haven’t been making any money and don’t see any point in continuing.

Smerychinski’s down the road turned their pasture into crop land. Every spring since we’ve been here – that’s sixteen years now – little calves have cavorted beside their mamas in that quarter section that’s just a bog, we thought. Peter must think it can’t do worse in crop than it did in cattle. Their cattle enterprise was a name among ranchers.

Triple Creek Farms sold all their replacement heifers this spring, and a good number of cow/calf pairs. Valerie Seatter says it’s a funny feeling. They’ve always had cattle. Out feeding the remaining cattle Sunday morning – the birds singing, the sun warm on the fresh leaves – Richard wondered how life would be without cows.

A buffalo herd with its young ones near Neerlandia, Alta. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

A buffalo herd with its young ones near Neerlandia, Alta. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Tim and Maureen Kubinec sold the rest of their cattle last fall. Tim has worked with cattle most of his life. Maureen says they never missed the cows one bit. She is sure the land will do much better in crop than it has in the last years as pasture.

Maybe it won’t this year. If it doesn’t rain soon it’s not likely to be a bumper crop. Robert likes to remind me though, that in our area grain farmers do better in a dry year than a wet one. I’ve worried my way through a lot of weather, and we’ve always made it through somehow. I’m sure the farmers will make it through this one too – most of them, anyway.

My brother dairy farms up in the B.C. side of the Peace Country. He says he’ll be starting to make grass silage next week.

“What have you got to cut?” I asked him. He says the grass has just bounded out of the ground in the last two weeks. They had a good soaker rain a couple weeks ago and the grass grew well. I hope they’re making enough hay up there for this part of the world too!

I’m happy for him. Last year that area of the country was in a major drought. They can use a better year.

I’m going out to turn on the sprinkler. At least I can water my garden!

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s