Richard Crewe celebrates the rainfall: June column

Richard Crewe is an ex-pat farmer from Shropshire, who, in partnership with his wife Jane, now grows 1500ha (3700 acres) of all combinable crops on undulating light land near Melville, East Central Saskatchewan, Canada.

At last it has rained – 16mm in a half-hour deluge on 8 June.

We seem to have been in a rain-free pocket, with only 12mm since mid-April, while 20 miles in any direction they are well into their third inch.

All cereals have come up well, but I was getting quite concerned about our Canola. Germination has been sporadic with the dry conditions and cool nights.

We also appear to have some damage, either from frost or from last year’s Odyssey (imazamox/imazethapyr) herbicide where the crop follows peas on 265ha. But every day more seedlings are emerging even a month after sowing.

We could still reseed with oats, but storage would be an issue.

The other 250ha of Canola is also suffering somewhat on the wheat stubble where there is more straw, but those plants are a healthier colour.

Seeding was completed in record time by the 23 May due in part to the dry conditions and no breakdowns.

Thanks must go to my cousin Will’s efforts last fall, when he rebuilt the markers on the seeder with heavier-gauge steel.

We got stuck only twice, first early on seeding peas. And then my college friend Jim from 40 years ago, over here to regain his youth, got bogged down in the very last slough by the highway with only 10 acres to go.

After last month’s political rant over food versus biofuels, I’ve been told that there are more horses in the UK now than there were before the internal combustion engine appeared and that they consume far more food than is used by all the bioenergy plants presently working and the horses don’t even work anymore.

Also how much pet food is consumed? There are clearly more pet-owning voters than farmers around. I rest my case.

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