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A8 July 22, 2020

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Crops are looking good, but may require extra attention due to diseases this summer

Most canola fields are in full bloom in southeast Saskatchewan, turning the landscape into a bright quilt. Photo by Anastasiia Bykhovskaia

By Ana Bykhovskaia abykhovskaia@estevanmercury.ca

The recent rains were hit and miss in southeast Saskatchewan, but they gave the crops enough moisture to grow and build up strength. Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture crop extension specialist Sherri Roberts says most

fields look good and before we know it, we’ll start meeting combines on the roads. But Roberts noted that fields are still pretty spotty at this time. “Some of them are fantastic. You get into the Glen Ewen area, over by Kipling they are short, but in Glen Ewen it’s tall. You get over by Redvers, they

are really nice, but then you get to the areas around the south of Weyburn, they are short. It all depended on how the moisture came through. But everybody is looking at crops that will be harvestable this year,” said Roberts. The level of moisture in the soil varies as well. Lampman, Glen Ewen and other areas received just the right

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in canola and cereals this year. Roberts also noticed an increase in lentils, but the soybean acres are down. And even though the crops are doing really well in general, there are always things to be cautious about. “I would like to put out a word of caution,” said Roberts. “Down here in the southeast, in the Lampman area, I did find ergot, it was on western wheatgrass. So any farmers that have any grass edges that still haven’t been mowed around their cereal fields, I would (recommend) to get out there and get them mowed because it’s the prairie grasses that the ergot will start in, and then it will move into your fields,” said Roberts. She is also starting to see some fusarium. After having problems with it over the last few years, many farmers started doing proper and timely fungicide spraying, so Roberts expects to encounter fewer problems with this particular disease in the crops, but she is still seeing it starting up in the native prairie grasses, which may create problems for cattle farmers. “Livestock producers should be watching their hay-

fields and their pastures, and walk in them, making sure that the levels don’t get too high in them because it can also create issues for their livestock.” Fusarium has been fairly steady in a lot of areas in the southeast Saskatchewan for the last four years, with the rains coming down at the times when cereals were blooming and creating the environment for the disease development. Roberts also noted that there is possible aster yellow showing in flax in the southeast, so she urged farmers to make sure that they make it out to the fields and check their crops regularly while they still can fix arising problems. Despite the drier June, Roberts still expects the first combines to pull out into the fields as early as the first week of August. “There is a strong possibility that that can happen. We’ve got some amber fields of grain out there waiving. And I’m seeing some starting to actually get some turns on the ones that were put in early.” If the weather holds and southeast Saskatchewan keep s receiving heat, the harvest may start in a little over a week.

Haying is slowly progressing despite the recent rains

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amount of rain, but fields south of Weyburn had only some lifesaving moisture. If not for the mid-July rains, there wouldn’t be much of a crop for a few fields in the region. Roberts noted that such an uneven level of precipitations almost became a “customary habit” for the southeast over the past few years. The majority of the farmers were able to take off last year’s crop that was left overwinter this spring. But a few decided that it wasn’t worth taking it off and just burned them. “The majority did take it off, and some of them were actually really surprised … on the quality that they received. It was not as bad as they thought it was going to be,” said Roberts. Last year’s crops set farmers back at the beginning of the season. But in the areas that received decent moisture, the later-seeded crops have caught up with the earlier ones now, while in the drier regions the difference is still obvious. Roberts said that the general situation is good and there are no areas in the southeast where things would go completely wrong. A lot of southeast Saskatchewan farmers invested

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Just like crop fields around the southeast, hayfields and pastures are pretty spotty this year. While some areas received a decent amount of precipitation earlier in the season, other regions hardly had enough to stay alive. “You get by Fillmore, you get in the south of Weyburn, over by Kendal and Sedley, where they really got no moisture, the hay fields are a lot thinner,” said Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture crop extension specialist Sherri Roberts. July rains refreshed pas-

tures, allowing the feed to grow, but that same precipitation kept pushing livestock producers back, keeping them away from haying. Many farmers have been trying to start cutting for the last weeks, but a lot of areas have been going just a day or two without showers, which was not allowing for any progress. Last week, despite the weather conditions, numerous producers finally got out there. “It’s going to be a hit or miss on whether they can get it up in excellent conditions without it getting rained

on. But there are a lot of fields that need to be cut and should have been cut a couple of weeks ago,” said Roberts. She added that the majority of the producers will hardly get the average tonnage this year due to the combination of conditions such as cool weather in the spring, a later start for the plants and a relatively dry June. However, farmers that manage to do two cuts this summer, may get an amazing second cut since the moisture came just in time for plants to boom in July.

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July 22, 2020 A9

Carievale 4H Beef Club’s year comes to an end Due to COVID-19, the 4-H year ended a lot differently. Record books were judged by Laine Goertz Kaeding of Regina. In cloverbuds, Vanessa Cowan was first, Mardi Cowan was second and Arabella Buchanan came in third. In juniors, Ryan Cowan was first, Jordan Cowan came in second and Andee Cowan finished third. Kenzie White was first in intermediate, followed by Karissa Elliott in second and Jordanna White in third. Kamryn Gilliland was first in senior record books. First place received $50, second place $25 and third place $15. Members completed questionnaires and ribbons were given out for them. Each member was videoed with their respective animals and submitted a video for a virtual achievement day. Katie and Austen Anderson of Swan River, Man., were the judges.  In the cloverbud class, judged on showmanship, Vanessa Cowan was first, Mardi Cowan came in second, Arabella Buchanan was third and Kade Taylor was fourth. The cloverbud champion and reserve came from accumulated points from throughout the year, record books, questionnaires and this particu-

lar class. Vanessa Cowan was awarded a wagon, rosette and keeper plaque for being the cloverbud champion and Mardi Cowan was reserve cloverbud and was given a Google mini. In the lightweight steer class, Billie Cowan and Andee Cowan were first and second, respectively, followed by Jordan Cowan, Ryan Cowan and Jordanna White. The middleweight steer class was led by

Lainee McMillen, followed by Ben Buchanan, Dane Taylor and Mya Gilliland. The heavyweight class had Kamryn Gilliland, Lance McMillen, Karissa Elliott, Daylan Elliott and Marisol Gilliland. The grand champion steer was awarded to Kamryn Gilliland. She received a buckle and plaque. The reserve champion steer went to Lance McMillen, who received a hoodie

and rosette. Kamryn was also awarded home grown steer, receiving a rosette and $40. Lance had the reserve home grown steer, receiving a rosette and a Google mini. The heifer class consisted of eight heifers. Kamryn Gilliland was awarded grand champion heifer as well as homegrown heifer. She received a buckle, plaque, rosette and $40. Andee Cowan was

chosen for reserve heifer and reserve homegrown. For this, she received a rosette, hoodie and a Google mini. Others in the class were Daylan Elliott, Lance McMillen, Travan Bevan, Karissa Elliott, Ryan Cowan and Kenzie White.  Kamryn Gilliland also was entered in the continuation heifer class with her two-yearold pair. She received a jacket for this class.

Supreme female was awarded to Kamryn Gilliland for her two-year-old pair and reserve champion female with her heifer. She received a plaque, gift certificate, rosette and money. This year the club also split the steers and heifers into breed classes.  In the Simmental steer class, Lance McMillen was first and Karissa Elliott second. In the Angus steer class, Billie Cowan was first and Ben Buchanan second.  In the other breeds steer class, Kamryn Gilliland was first and Mya Gilliland second.  In the Simmental heifer class, Daylan Elliott was first and Lance McMillen second. In the other breeds heifer class, Kamryn Gilliland was first and Andee Cowan second. These members got to choose a prize ranging from sprays, 4-H toques or bucket hats, 4-H water bottles or Subway gift cards. The hard luck awards went to Kade Taylor, Dane Taylor, Marisol Gilliland, Lainee McMillen and Travan Bevan. All members were presented with their 4-H certificates and a Carievale 4-H Beef Club hoodie. This year, the club purchased new banners and stall cards for the club.  Unfortunately, they did not get a chance to use them.

people asking for help when they need it the most.” Calls to the Saskatchewan farm stress line doubled in 2018-19 compared to the previous year, and in 2020, COVID-19 is placing new pressures on people within the agriculture sector. The app, called Avail, analyzes wellness data supplied by the user and offers supports including articles, videos and online tips, or more immediate help from a personal support network. It is available for Apple, Android and desktop devices. “Saskatchewan producers face unique challenges

when it comes to dealing with mental health and we are committed to providing resources and strategies to help support them,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said. “We know there is a need for solutions like this and I’m looking forward to working with Bridges Health to provide a resource custom-built for the agriculture industry.” Bridges Health is a mental health service organization based in Saskatoon. As Innovation Challenge winners, the company receives $10,000 in funding and a 16-week collaboration with government to develop the mobile app.

The app allows users to complete check-ins and measure their mental and overall health in a variety of different areas. Beyond physical health, it goes into areas like sleep hygiene and financial wellbeing, stress and anxiety, according to Kyle Anderson, business development consultant with Bridges Health. The self-assessment will ask 10 different questions, and those questions vary each time. Self-assessment is just one aspect of it. Users will be able to track their wellness over time, noting increases or decreases in their scores.

The app will send periodic reminders to the user for them to make use of it. “After that, there's a library with articles and videos and tips and suggestions and activities of things that you can do. When they are specifically geared towards all of those, those different areas. So, if I noticed that I wasn't doing well and my stress and anxiety score was low, then I can go through and access all of the different resources, specific distress and anxiety,” Anderson said. It will tie into specific resources available in Saskatchewan.

Anderson said: “If I was looking to go see a physiotherapist and I'm located in Swift Current, I'd be able to search that and see all available physiotherapists, that are within a specific distance to me. If I'm looking to go see a counsellor, and I'm located in say Rosetown, there's not many professionals out there. I'd be able to see who offers remote services, virtual or telehealth.” He added there's a social connection so you can connect with peers and other individuals, and have that social support within the app as well.

Members of the Carievale 4H Beef Club with their new banners and stall cards. Photo submitted

New app addresses mental health issues for farmers An app developed in Saskatchewan, meant to help out farmers’ mental health, is receiving some support from the Government of Saskatchewan. Innovation Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Agriculture have announced they are partnering with a health services company to provide farmers with a new tool to track their mental health and link them with supports. The mobile app, developed by Bridges Health in Saskatoon, was selected during a province-wide Innovation Challenge in the spring of 2020, where technology entrepreneurs offered solutions to assist Saskatchewan farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers in actively monitoring their mental health. “Despite progress made, there is still stigma associated with asking for support when it comes to mental health,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan Tina Beaudry-Mellor said. “Having access to an app in the privacy of one’s own home will enhance the likelihood of

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