Producers hope to wrap up harvest and turn their thoughts towards plans for winter
By Jackie Clark
Snow has blanketed fields across Ontario. Though it may not last, the white stuff is a sure sign that winter is on the way. So, farmers across the province are focusing on what lies ahead as we reach the end of a fickle and challenging harvest season.
“It’s been a little bit of a stressful fall,” Chris Chadwick, a cash-crop farmer from Chatham-Kent, told Farms.com.
“There are a couple big operators by us that have some beans left in the field. (But), for the majority, we’re just waiting on corn,” he said.
He hopes to get a window soon to allow him to wrap up harvest.
“A little bit of sun and a little bit of wind would do me a big favour,” Chadwick said. “Once the snow’s off the stalks, we’d like to get the corn off and get the stalks plowed.
“After that, (it’s time to) just put everything away in the barn,” he added.
It’s a different story in eastern Ontario.
“My beans are still in the field under 15 cm of snow, so that’s not good. Corn’s still up over 28 to 30 per cent moisture,” Eleanor Renaud, who runs a cow-calf and cash crop operation in Leeds County, told Farms.com.
Some farmers in the area “are lucky and got (soybeans) off, but the fields have not been great,” she explained.
Farmers in eastern Ontario would need “the snow to disappear, (and) some really cold, breezy sunny days, to get at the beans. But the snow’s got to go first and I wasn’t seeing that in the forecast,” Renaud said.
“I do have my equipment pretty much all away,” she added.
As long as the cows behave, winter is usually less busy, she said. “You can take a deep breath and maybe a holiday. It’s also meeting time.”
Some producers completed personal and professional development projects in the fall when conditions delayed harvest.
“I just finished the Environmental Farm Plan last week because it was muddy so we couldn’t do anything anyways,” Chadwick said. “Over the winter, we’ve just got a couple of wagons to do a little maintenance on.”
Farmers from both regions echoed the same message of working together to remain positive.
“We talk to each other in the coffee shops and try not be a downer about the weather with doom and gloom. (We) always try to look for the positive,” Chadwick said. “This is the hand we were dealt this year. There’s nothing we can do about it other than try to work together.”
“It is a very stressful time right now for farmers,” Renaud added. “You do have to take that deep breath and find the humour. You have to take some time to yourself, and not stress yourself out over it because it’s so easy to get injured that way.”
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