Starting to sound like a broken record….hot and dry conditions have been the predominant feature of the 2021 season thus far, and the trend looks to continue for the balance of July.
Last week we had a brief reprieve of the heat, with daytime highs dropping to the high teens, but at the end of the week and into the weekend the heat has returned. This week is once again low 30’s with wind and no rain.
Our south land has taken the worst of it so far but the north land has been able to hang in. A rain could still bring a close to average crop in the north.
With the lack of rain, our crops are short, some only knee-high. We have always swathed our crop, but with the short straw this year, we would end up losing too much if we swathed everything. We have bought some straight cut headers for a few of our combines and will be straight cutting the shortest crops.
With such a large percentage of our crop being malt barley – we have found swathing allows us to manage the quality better, and bring the crop in quicker. Straight cutting leaves it exposed for too long and subject to wind damage and more prone to sprouting since in field longer. With canola being our other major crop, swathing has been our management at harvest. Straight cut headers are another expense that we didn’t seem worthwhile. But now that it’s a necessity for this year, it will give us a chance to experiment with and see if it has a potential fit for the future….or if this is a one-year project and we sell afterward.