A hail of a year

FTLComm - Weekes - Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The sky on the right seems like a norm one for this summer and certainly for the beginning of the harvest season. Rain is followed by showers, cloud and very cool temperatures. All of this after one of the coldest summers in a hundred years. The crop above was planted in the first few days of May and its surrounding fields are all in about the same condition, not just from hail damage which occurred last Thursday but from slow growth caused by low temperatures and frost damage. This field had already been reported to Crop Insurance and their adjuster had set a date to come and look over the frost damage now it will need
another look by the hail insurance adjuster.

Hail normal is very precise, clobbering a portion of a field and leaving the surrounding area untouched. The storm that jumped on the area north east of Weekes last Thursday night was very widespread. Clumps of ice rattled down without the usual pre-shower and cover section after section with a couple of inches of ice. The follage has holes in it from the penitration.

But that storm was only one of many and the already saturated soil can hold no more moisture. Farmers who have had custom high wheel sprayers attempt to apply chemcial in the area have all had to drag them out of the muddy fields after they have bogged down.

This crop of flax (left) is not as spectacular as the damage to the wheat at the top of the page but the damage is just as severe.

The crops on these pages will have to be harvested even though there will be little to salvage in them but the farmers need to clean up the fields to prepare them for next year's crop.

Both of these crops were destroyed by frost and the hail storm simply finished them off and they are considered a total loss.

The swather and the combine are going to have to sit in the yard a little while longer. On Saturday it when these pictures were taken it was thought that they would be able to get the straight combine out into the field by tomorrow but the additional rain on Sunday and Monday will delay that perhaps until next week as more rain is expected in the next few days. The day time temperatures have been very low and things are not drying up.

This particular farm and others in the area had much more than half of their bumper crop from last season in their storage system when this year's crop was planted. But, as the summer progressed and a good looking crop began to develop in the fields it was clear they were

going to need the storage space and the grain was sold off and the bins emptied.

Now there is a new problem. This year's crop is destroyed and with it not only this year's production but also, next year's seed. Farmers in this area around Weekes are going to have to go to the market place to buy their seed for the coming year.

It is fortunate that most of the farm land in this area was covered by both hail and crop insurance so when the dust settles from the non-harvest of 2004 there will be a settlement that should cover the year's operating expenses and help to buy seed for the coming season.

Timothy W. Shire



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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