A Trip to Southern Alberta

Trip Start Jan 09, 2009
Trip End Jun 01, 2009

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Saturday, May 16, 2009

This past week has been one of errands, spring cleaning and puttering.  Today we took another road trip, this time to the Lethbridge area.  Don has had a longtime dream of running a combine on the harvest excursion and has been spending a lot of time in research and discussion to see if there is any possibility that he can fulfill this dream.  One of the discussions led to an invitation to meet with a large custom farm operator and to see part of his local operation.  The weather is improving so it was a great day for a road trip.

The destination was a relatively large farm operation that is in the process of planting 30,000 acres of wheat and canola using 8-9 air seeders, some of them up to 42 ft. in width that till, plant and fertilize all in one operation.  Articulating 700 hp tractors are used to pull this equipment.  The harvesting operation will start early in June in southern Oklahoma then progress northward into Kansas, South Dakota, Montana and back into Alberta, with 22 large John Deer combines, grain buggies and grain trucks working for about five months to complete the harvest about the end of October

The tour of the fields and seeding operation was interesting.  In addition to seeing the large no-till air-planter seeding equipment and the 700 hp tractors, the vast acreage was almost overpowering.  The spring work is late this year and the operators are working long hours to get the seed in the ground.  Late planting means a late harvest season with all the attendant problems associated with that.

Time will tell but Don is still hopeful that things might work out for him.  A lot of discussion took place about what life on the road was like and we didn't hear anything that discouraged us.

We followed the 'cowboy trail' on the way back, along Hwy 22 through the foothills.  There seems to be a constant wind in this area and the proliferation of wind turbines makes ideal use of the higher hills to produce clean green electricity. Pincher Creek was one of there earliest areas to produce oil in Alberta and it seems fiting that this area should now be able to produce abundant amounts of renewable energy.

A beautiful drive, even at this time of the year.  One can only image what it would be like with fall colors.
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