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Local farmers aid in Foodgrains harvest

Posted on September 24, 2014 by Maple Creek

The weather finally co-operated enough last week for farmers to volunteer their time and machinery to the annual Canadian Foodgrains Bank harvest.

Three combines were used on Sept. 19 to harvest 80 acres of wheat, located about 60 kilometres north of Maple Creek, with the entire crop supporting the work of the Christian food and development assistance organization. The parcel of land owned by Doug and Arlette Knoblich is set aside every year for the project.

Volunteers harvested two heaping semis’ worth of wheat in the 35 to 36 bushel an acre range. While the grain hasn’t been contracted anywhere yet, the quality suffered due to the heavy, late rain. The volunteers estimate it could grade a five.

“There’s some sprouts in it,” noted Greg Knodel, an organizer of the Tower Hills Growing Project.

But he said the parcel of land was better off than other  crops in the Golden Prairie area.

“That piece of land had kind of a timely rain there in July and sort of pulled it out for us again,” Knodel said. “And then of course the rain came when it was time to be harvested and wrecked the quality.”

He is still hopeful they will be able to get a good price for the grain as it is for charity.

Arlen and Morley Herter donated a bin to store the grain for now. Local farmers donated their time not only out of their own harvest, but also dedicated time to seeding and spraying. Fertilizer was donated by G-Mac’s Ag Team in Leader, and Syngenta and BASF donated chemical. The Richmound Cypress Credit Union supplied lunch after the harvest was complete.

The Southwest Growing Project in Leader will be harvesting its durum field today or tomorrow. The group has 160 acres south of Leader dedicated to the project.

“It looks like a good crop as far as yield goes, but the grading is probably not going to be that favourable,” said Randy Ausmus, an organizer of the Southwest Growing Project. “It’s probably in the 50 bushel an acre range.”

He expects there will be four to six volunteers bringing their combines for the harvest, which could then be completed in two to three hours.

“Typically the harvest is very well supported,” Ausmus said.

In past years, the Great Sandhills Terminal has always made room for the wheat, so volunteers haven’t had to store it. Ausmus said this will likely be the case again this year, although the terminal was recently purchased by the Canadian Wheat Board.

Farmers have supplied their own fuel for the harvest, but they receive support from local fertilizer dealers and have had chemical donated as well. “Adopt an acre” sponsors are Bayer, Tim Lozinsky, Farmlink Marketing, Sandhills Insurance, Sandhills Credit Union, Spectra Energy, Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont, Dow, BASF, G-Mac’s Ag Team, Ken Deal Equipment Brokers, Kugler Company and Great Sandhills Terminal.

Other Foodgrains Bank projects in the Southwest include Swift Current and Stewart Valley.

The Foodgrains Bank supports relief efforts in war-torn countries as well as aiding countries dealing with famine and drought. According to the Foodgrains Bank, the amount raised from this year’s harvest will likely go towards relief efforts in South Sudan or the Gaza Strip.

The federal government tops up the amount raised in a four-to-one match through projects across the country up to $25 million a year.

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