It’s official. If you want your province to dry out call Charles Schmidt.
This climatological fact was among the many things I learned at the first day of the 2017 Ag In Motion (AIM) farm show near Langham, Sask. Tuesday (about 20 minutes from Saskatoon — the show is still running Wednesday and Thursday, so plan to attend).
Charles Schmidt and his wife Elli and family farmed at Chinook for many years in the often desert like conditions of Eastern Alberta in a region known as the Special Areas — it was termed “special” for a reason.
Although there were some great growing seasons over the years, the Schmidts got tired of waiting for rain, so about a year ago bought a farm near Davidson, Sask., about half way between Regina and Saskatoon.
According to a long-time Davidson area farmer, Gerrid Gust, in many recent years it never stops raining at Davidson. That was until the Schmidts showed up.
Charles, who was checking out the sights at AIM with farming colleague Dennis Reimer of Hudson Bay, Sask., says he no sooner got the crops in the ground and it stopped raining.
“I left Alberta to get away from the dry conditions, “Schmidt says. “And now it has followed me. We’ve only had about two-10ths’ rain all season. It is amazing how good the crops look, despite it being so dry.”
And that wasn’t an isolated story either, most of Saskatchewan could use some moisture. Les Lehman of North Battleford said it was dry over to the west. Dennis Reimer says it is fairly dry at Hudson Bay (northeast of Saskatoon near the Manitoba border). One of the farmers from the Sunny Dale Hutterite Colony at Arelee, Sask., northwest of Saskatoon, says it is dry out their way. And others reports suggest it gets dryer still the further south from Saskatoon you go.
Schmidt says he really doesn’t believe it is a curse that is following him, but he admits he has heard some suggestions that he now move to Manitoba where some areas could use a good drying out.
Great pulled pork
After several rigorous conversation with farmers as I manned an information booth at AIM, the beauty of the fact the information booth was located right next to a mobile food truck selling barbecued pulled pork sandwiches was not lost on me.
If you make it to AIM or anytime you are in Saskatoon check out Schryers Smoked BBQ Shack. They have a sit-down restaurant on Millar Avenue in Saskatoon where you will no doubt find the same great fare as AIM visitors are at the food truck. The pork is smoked and slow cooked for about 12 hours, Jon Schryer tells me, and then topped off with a special barbecue sauce. At AIM you can get pulled pork on a bun or something a little different it also comes in a bag — shredded pork on top of nacho chips — now that’s a great combination. It can get a bit messy but don’t let that hold you back. Jon Schryer and co-workers Shay Grylls and Travis Lad served up hundreds during the first day.
Because of my expertise in providing valuable information to AIM goers I couldn’t wander too far, but hopefully I will get to try out some of the other great food vendors at the show — that Soom Soom Mediterranean cuisine was among those that caught my eye.
Back to AIM business
Rob Skorlatowski of Industrial Truck Service in Saskatoon says he is getting more interest from farmers looking to buy a forklift for the farm. Skorlatowski, who sells both Toyota and Crown forklifts, was at the show sizing up prospective opportunities. He says more and more producers are needing to move tote bags and other bulk crop protection products and a fork lift works so much better than many telehandlers.
Jim Anderson of Frostfree Nose Pumps stopped by the info booth and invited all livestock producers to have a look at their display — and it is worth checking out. These nose pumps, that are powered by the animal’s muzzle, can simply and reliably pump water from a well 100 to 200 feet deep for a few hundred head of cattle — year-round.
Anderson says he was impressed with the set up of the livestock area at Ag In Motion show. There are daily presentations on feeding cattle and forage production. Curt Pate is providing presentation on low stress cattle handling and there are also fencing demonstrations. Check out the expanded livestock area.
One of the most important visitors at the show Tuesday was, as I mentioned earlier, Les Lehman who farms at North Battleford. He had read my July Grainews column where I mentioned I had a few Grainews ball caps to give away to the first people who found me and said hello at either an information booth or the Grainews booth, and he did. So Les is now the envy of the greater North Battleford area with a sporty-looking Grainews cap… I still have a few left.
Wear good shoes
What else? Aside from the food and livestock and collectors’-edition Grainews ball caps there appears to also be some crops and machinery stuff at AIM too. OK, let’s face it… there is tonnes of crops and machinery stuff. I hardly saw any of it yet, due to the high demand on me to provide reliable information to AIM goers but Wednesday I will have a better look.
Despite my advice to scale the show back and have all displays within 50 feet of the parking lot, the organizers went ahead and made the show bigger. So wear good shoes, or hire six or eight neighbourhood lads to tote you around like an Egyptian pharaoh or queen, that would work too. There are regular shuttles running all day around the grounds, so you don’t have to walk every inch. And… and… there is a company renting golf carts to AIM goers this year, so you might want to check out that mode of transportation.
— Lee Hart is a field editor with Grainews based in Calgary. Check out his regular blog posts here.