It was great to have the wind on our back for the 160km ride from Kindersley to Outlook. Not only did we manage our longest distance we also achieved our highest average speed of 27km/hr.
When we got to Rosetown we were staggered by the number of John Deere harvesters. We found out later Rosetown is the main storage locations for one of the dealers, Western Sales.
The last 50km were completed in the car so as to reach Snustead Farms at a reasonable hour. Darwyn and Joann Snustead and their two daughters Madison and Bobbi-Jo farm approx. 3,640ha (9,000 ac) at Strongfield. They have 2 full time employees and employ another 3 at sowing time, so it was great they could also accommodate us at such a busy time.
Like the last 200km we have ridden over the last 2 days this country is predominantly all cropping, no fences, very few to no trees and big gear using no till. They have increased on farm storage with bigger hoppers and aeration, but also to provide more marketing options and to help manage specialty grains like lentils and yellow mustard seed.
Heavy rain recently has held up sowing in places prone to water logging. With only 4 days left to complete sowing they have been trying valiantly to seed the drier areas but they still manage to get their 2 big sowing rigs bogged occasionally. One of the photos below shows the conditions they are trying to sow in.
The sowing rig below is one of the biggest I have seen. The drill is 75″ which enables them to sow 16ha/hr (40ac/hr). One fill of the seed and fertiliser tanks will enable them to sow 65ha (160ac).
One thing we have noticed is the amount of salt appearing in the depressions. Apparently it is an increasing issue and they are wondering what is the best way to manage it. We also noted this in the cropping areas east of Calgary.
The growing season is around 4 months, with harvesting of barley starting in late August, wheat a bit later. Winter here is harsh with temperatures around minus 30 degrees (occasionally minus 40 degrees).
Snusteads employ an agronomist from Cargill, and also purchase their Chemical, Fertiliser and Canola Seed (grown under contract). They also support their local grain terminal which is half farmer owned (Viterra owns the other half).
The two birds: Yellow headed blackbird’s are quite prolific in the wet areas (Sitting on the hay bale normally used by nesting Canadian Geese). The second photo is of a Western Kingbird.