Twenty miles east of Saskatoon, just off Highway 5 near St. Denis, is a grain farm, where I spent a day shadowing Claude Labrecque. I wanted to learn what happens on the farm during the cold months, and what kind of preparation is involved for the beginning of spring seeding.
Driving up to his farm, I could see Claude already busy at work, riding his sled from his shop to the barn where the horses are kept. So when I arrived, I jumped in and started giving him a hand!
Claude had a healthy list of "chores" that day — starting with feeding the horses and making sure their water was fully stocked.
We then needed to:
-Do some maintenance on his combine
-Drive the grain truck over to the seed cleaning plant
-Weigh the truck
-Drive back to the farm
-Tinker some more with the combine
-And run diagnostics on other farm equipment.
Phew — I think we got it all!
Having a heated shop on the farm is incredibly useful to a farmer. In Claude's case, when any machine needs repairs, he can work on the equipment inside, while it's -30 outside.
Doing full diagnostic work now, instead of in the summer, is considered preventive work. You'd rather find the problem in the shop, than find it out in the field during critical seeding or harvest times — saving you time and money in the future.
After working on the combine, we hopped inside the grain truck and took a load of lentils to the seed cleaning plant down the road. I closely watched as the lentils entered the facility, and were sent through a large sifter so the seeds could be cleaned.
I often drive past these seed cleaning plants on my roadtrips, so getting to see what's inside was fascinating.
After an hour or so, we weighed the truck on the scale, then drove back to the farm. Claude had some more work to do in the shop, so I went off to help with some chores, shovelling and cleaning any manure in the barn. You know what they say — many hands makes light work!
This farm visit was a great experience to have. It showed me that farming is a year-round occupation, where there's always something to do and prepare for. next time you cross paths with a farmer, make sure to give a friendly wave!
Thanks for reading,