A ray of hope!
It’s been wet here, folks. I’m sure that everyone who has lived through the past few months in the Lower Mainland can sympathize with our grain in the feeling that we’ve all had our feet wet for far too long.
Last year, which was Urban Grains’ first season of operation, we were blessed with exceptionally hot and dry conditions, basically ideal for growing grain. Perhaps that was the universe’s way of encouraging this little endeavour. This year is different though, and it seems that even if we were handed an easy pass last season, we are being challenged in the current one.
Jim has just sent along these photos, which show the damage that the crops have suffered, but also some encouraging progress.
Below, you can see a head of Triticale looking fat and fine, in a photo that was taken on the first truly sunny day in months. As a fall-planted crop, it has seen a hard winter and has come out the other side looking battered, but still going. In the background is Mt. Cheam, still capped by clouds.
This next shot was taken in the winter wheat field. Again, the w.w. has struggled all winter, first with a long bout of leaf rust, and later with the hardships of the cool, wet spring.
The grain you see below is soft white spring wheat, planted just before the rainy stretch of the early summer. Jim thinks that it should mature well if we get some good heat now in the late summer.
Likewise, the hard red spring wheat has put on a lot of growth and now has ample stored up to make the most of the hot, sunny weather.
Below is a field containing two different hard red spring wheat varieties. A variety dating back to 1969 (to the left of the photo) is distinct from its bearded modern counterpart (centre and right of photo). With continued good weather, both varieties should make excellent wheat for milling.
Here now is a head of each of the grains we discussed in the photo above. On the left is Neepawa, released as a new variety in 1969, which was common across the prairies in the 1970s. Seed was obtained from organic grower Norbert Kratchmer in Saskatchewan specifically to trial in the Fraser Valley for Urban Grains.
On the right is the more recent (bearded) variety CDC Go, which was the main variety grown for Urban Grains last year.
So that’s it for now. Lots of sogginess, but lots of growth, too. And a positive outlook for the next few months. Jim sounds extremely relieved to be coming out of the rain clouds and into the real heat of summer. And I must admit, I am with him.