I don't know about you but as I age, the thought of cold and winter becomes less appealing to me. When I woke up early this morning, my local radio station said Moose Jaw had got to -1. I couldn't see any evidence of frost on the Swenson farm yet but we will see after a couple of hours of sunlight if anything was touched. We didn't cover the garden last night and I was hoping that some of my newer grape plants in the vineyard would get the opportunity to grow for another couple of weeks. My grazing corn is definitely not ready for a hard frost. Hopefully winter is several months away!
I'm sure our Sask Party government must be hoping for a change of political weather when it comes to the GTH land scandal. This past week, more revelations have come to light about the validity of the appraisals that were used to justify the huge purchase price for land around the GTH. It also came to light that the GTH can't pay its bills, is not selling enough land to meet its budget projections and in fact, has not been able to make payments on its loan with a major Canadian bank for 2 years and the interest payment is the only thing being paid.
For anyone who cares to look, the PC Party put out a release last Thursday comparing the GTH to a past NDP government's venture into the potato business called "Spudco". The really sad thing for Saskatchewan taxpayers is that much of the $2 billion expenditure on the south Regina bypass is being spent to build infrastructure to deliver truck traffic to the GTH. No wonder Brad Wall wants to get out of Saskatchewan politics before all of the bills for this come home to roost with Saskatchewan taxpayers. As you heard me say on tv and radio ads during the 2016 election campaign, we are building a highway to nowhere.
My final comment for the day is hats off to the plant breeders at the University of Saskatchewan, the Crop Development Centre and our federal research stations for their continued development of crops suitable to western Canada. A lot of the evidence that is coming in after harvest shows that their diligence over many years has resulted in wheat cultivars which are far more tolerant to drought stress than earlier varieties.
This last hot dry summer was a great test for the resilience of the new kinds of spring wheat available to farmers. I have heard of some excellent yields in fields where there was virtually no rainfall for the summer. These crops lived on what moisture there was in the soil and were able to utilize the nutrients available to them even in the face of extreme heat and windy conditions. It will be interesting to see how these same varieties will fair if we are facing similar conditions 2 years in a row.
I'm sure Sask Crop Insurance will be breathing a sigh of relief because they will not have to expend as much money on claims as everyone was expecting. In fact, everyone in agriculture from grain companies on down should be giving the folks in the plant breeding community a high-five and taking them out to dinner at the very least because Saskatchewan's prosperity is still tied in many ways to what comes out of our fields on an annual basis. Well done to the folks that find us the new plants to keep agriculture going year after year.
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