You can almost feel the anticipation in the air.
It is the time of year when grain and oilseed producers begin to become rather antsy for the start of the fall harvest.
Recent road trips to Sandy Beach on Good Spirit Lake for a disc golf tournament, and a run to Regina for East Indian food, was a good opportunity to take note of the state of crops.
While there were no swathers in the fields, a lot of crops were beginning to show the familiar golden tinge that denotes a crop is ripening so that it can soon be harvested. The trips were 10-days ago from when this article will see print, and some of the crops are likely going down, marking the start of harvest.
It is always a time that excites farmers, the point when they feel they will be able to harvest the crop and see a return on what is now a substantial investment in every acre planted.
It is also a time, as I recall from my youth, a time of uncertainty for producers. No one can be sure of what sort of production a field might yield on a given year until the combine begins its work.
There are so many factors that go into yield, from timely moisture, to the potential impact of heat at the time a crop flowers, to heavy rains, and of course the input of fertilizer and the control of weeds which compete with crops.
Most of the stands this year, at least on the highways travelled recently, look good although as always they are variable too. Some crops don’t look very tall, which from an SUV seat at 100 kilometres an hour doesn’t mean a lot, but one wonders if the crop perhaps needed an extra rain or two. Or, it might just be the variety, and a great yield awaits harvest.
That is the $64,000 dollar question as they say, which in the case of today’s agriculture the sum is not far off what producers will be shooting for on a quarter-to-quarter basis in terms of gross return.
Of course while the wheels will be starting to turn, and that is always good news when harvest gets a good start in August, there are still weeks of work ahead, and Mother Nature can throw a wrench into the gears with rain and frost yet.
But at present farmers will just be happy to be out in the field reaping what they have sown, which is the heart of their business, meaning driving the combine is often when producers are happiest.
Calvin Daniels is Editor with Yorkton This Week.