Pro's and Con's of where you farm?

Commodity Marketing

Tools

Pro's and Con's of where you farm?

Dec 27, 2017 | 02:16 1 Enough politics and climate change threads for me. How about something mostly positive. I often wonder if I made the right decision to stay in this area, but of course, the grass is always greener, so prove me right or wrong.

My area is west central Ab, straight west of Red Deer, only a few more miles of agricultural land west of here before it is mostly green land. Mixed farm, mostly grain; canola, CPS wheat, barley, plus cow calf, sell some hay. I notice most of the pro's are also con's.
PRO's

-We don't know what a drought actually is. Even in 2002 and 2003 with no rain, we had it bad, but I went for a drive from here to Manitoba, and our farm looked like a green oasis compared to anything else in between
-Lack of wind. I can't stand the incessant wind. Not sure how we stack up statistically, but every time I go east or south it is much worse than here. This time of year we get more warm Chinook winds than cold east winds.
-Mild winters. Rarely go more than a week without getting above freezing. Not quite as mild as Calgary though.
-Snow, Having boys with snowmobiles and sleds, we do have quite reliable snow compared to areas south of us, combined with warm temps compared to east of here, makes chores and sports more fun.
-Pests, I've never seen most of the insects, diseases and weeds most of you talk about. Either too cold, too wet, or too much diversity in neighboring land? Sprayed insecticide for the first time ever this year for flea beetles, fungicide rarely, no issues with herbicides resistance yet.
-Yields, crops that like cold and wet just never know when to quit around here. When we used to grow a lot of hay, relatives from further east were astonished with our yields.
-Rents are much lower than what most of you report, when yields are factored in, the situation is even better yet.
-Neighbors. This is a very densely populated area, there is a house on almost every quarter again, sometimes more. Can always find help when needed. We rent out an extra house for a generous rent. Full quarters have development potential.
-Lots of quarter section size farms, unheard of most places.
-Not much for BTO's here to compete with, I'd probably be considered a BTO here, but wouldn't even register if I were in SF3's neighborhood.
-The towns are growing, businesses expanding, have lots of well stocked industrial parts type places within half hour. Same with consumer businesses and services. Schools, rinks, playgrounds etc.
-Good Jobs are readily available within driving distance. This is the main reason I stayed here instead of moving when I was younger. Over priced land, but with the ability to pay for it.
-Potential for lease revenue is considerable.
-Recreation. mountains are within view and just a short drive. Lots of wilderness, big muskegs are wide open for miles for snowmobiling. Many creeks and rivers within a few minutes of here. Countless wildlife of all sizes.
-Topography, Very locally, the land is almost flat, just enough slope that standing water is rarely a problem. This is big swamp country (Grandpa's term). Big enough and contigious enough to be fenced and pastured or hayed. Not like pothole country where they are small and isolated. The highland in between can usually be farmed without interruption in large tracts.
-Soil Heavy fine clay without end which holds water indefinitely can grow a massive crop on almost no rain. Lots of organic soils in the low areas, very productive with a little work.
-Getting stuck isn't as exciting as most places(but more frequent). Can't sink more than a few inches into the clay.
-Cattle country, so there is always a market for feed, pasture, and manure available.
-If good fences make good neighbors then we have that going for us, nearly all land is perimeter fenced, and usually has a tree line for added security.
-4 cattle auction markets within an hours drive
-Water for cattle etc, water table is often at surface or even above. dig a hole, often water seeps in to fill it, it almost never dries up. Drill a water well absolutely anywhere and it is a good well. Ours is only 60 feet. Even hand dug wells can keep up.
-Our county has money to burn (they must, judging by the way they burn it) from taxes on oil facilities, yet our land taxes are embarrasingly cheap. Most is well under $1 per acre. They seem to grade or snowplow our road to nowhere twice a week for no good reason.
-No road bans that affect me directly.
-Most of our land is on rarely travelled roads, can move large machinery, cows, load/unload trucks on the road without complaint.
-County mounties mostly leave farmers alone and pick on the oilfield traffic.
-My European neighbors moved here specifically after looking all over the world, they established that this would be the safest place, climatically, economically, politically, and socially.

Now before you all move to be my neighbors:
Con's
-It is almost always too wet. Highest average rainfall on the prairies with the exception of 4 towns in Manitoba. Combined with the lowest heat units of anywhere on the prairies is a bad combination. 2" of rain in one event is fatal.
-Wind never blows when we need it, to dry things out in the spring to get started, or to dry hay or grain crops. Dew doesn't burn off till noon and is back on by 8 in the middle of July.
-Chinooks have a habit of melting most of the snow, multiple times per year. Making for poor sledding, and turning everything to ice, especially freezing the twines on the bales. But not quite melting everything to make life easy again.
-Chinooks also do something to the atmospheric pressure causing me headaches half the winter.
-It can still get frigid here, was -35 this morning.
-Summer nights are cold, which is why we get so few heat units, limiting what we can grow.
-This is the west end of Hail alley, right where they seed the clouds to save the cities east of here, and causing every storm to dump on us. we get hail almost every year, usually multiple storms.
-High yields and cold wet weather are a frustrating combination to ever get dry.
-County average yields are pitifully low compared to ours, making crop insurance a complete waste of money without a history.
-The risks of getting the high yields are substantial. hail, drowning, spring frost, fall frost, lodging(guaranteed), snow etc.
-There is a house on every quarter making for very few quarters that aren't way beyond agricultural value. "Recreational land" is worth more than good farmland.
-Too many of the Non farming Neighbors don't always appreciate the sights, smells and sounds that a mixed farm creates, nor the times that they occur.
-Lots of jobs means labour is expensive, hired help, tire repairs, any custom work etc.
-Mountain view, creeks, trees, proximity to civilization and recreation etc attract the Calgary crowd, bidding land up well beyond its agricultural potential.
-Wildlife, Deer and Moose cause more economic harm than any other insect or disease ever could. Cougars, wolves, bears are recently moving in and they like calves.
-Trees, poplar trees are the worst weed we have, sapping the crop for 50 feet out from any tree line. Constantly committing suicide onto fences, allowing cows into crops, and requiring a chainsaw for the opening round. And worst of all, harboring the enemy, the deer and moose. Non farming neighbors just love trees and wildlife.
-Oil wells, facilities, lease roads, power lines etc. to farm around are a PITA.
-Pipelines, gas lines, phone lines make drainage a challenge, even moving equipment is a big deal.
-Topography. Not enough slope to drain the subsoil and every slightest depression(1" deep) never dries. Virtually every property is divided on a 30 degree angle by a swamp, making lots of triangle and diamond shaped fields.
-Heavy clay soil and subsoil. Never dries out, drowns out the crop even where there is never standing water. Get stuck 2" deep in clay. When it is borderline dry enough to drive through it is the most frustrating thick sticky unpredictable mess imaginable.
-Compaction is enemy number one in this soil. Disc is a four letter word for me.
-Once the organic matter has been farmed out of the clay/grey wooded soils, they are very unforgiving and unproductive. reversing that process is a long term process. Needs lots of manure to bring it back to productivity.
-Cattle, my own and neighbors, inevitably find a way to go trample crop at the worst possible times.
-Fences, constantly reseeding thistles, quackgrass and trees. Jumping out and catching equipment, soil ridges under fences damning water, makes moving big equipment more difficult. Adds up to a lot of acres of lost productivity.
-Closest dealer is half hour away, the major dealers are most of an hour away.
-Nearest elevators/feedmills are a good hour away, Crushers almost 3 hours away.
-Some local feedlots but they pay less delivered than feedlot alley does picked up.
-Water, having a water table near the surface, and nearly impermeable soil means that excess water can only evaporate, I'd rather have trouble drilling a well. Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 03:18 2 mixed farming is becoming king here in australia again risk management.

livestock cattle very good sheep and wool and lambs in the stratosphere.

many guys who havent had livestock for 30 years are swinging back to both.

doesnt answer your question though.

were i live low cost land 500 to 700.
cost of production low and yields 30 to 45 bushels youve seen my ramblimgs before, but currently wool stacks up against 48 bushels of feed barley beats it hands down for little cost Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 09:33 3 Interesting thread starter...

Very similar climTe to you, ab5.

Pros:

Drought? No idea what that is. Has not ever occurred here.

Outdoorsmans paradise compared to many areas of sask.

Beautiful, green, parkland.

I truly believe my personal property, is some of the very prettiest farmland I have seen.

Excellent soil.

Permanent water sources are common.

Will never be a grass or hay shortage here.

Could live off the land easily if tshtf. Most days I could shoot a moose off my steps.

Windlessness. Low wind speeds are nice. Lots of tree lines to break what wind there is.

No spray drift issues on my land at least. Could spray any day of the summer, and not drift, or receive drift.

Hoar frost is often and pretty.

Quiet and peaceful, we are at the end of the road, and we have zero traffic. Love it!


Cons:

Too many young farmers. Hard to get land, it is never available. No expansion potential whatsoever.

Too many well heeled farmers. Hard to compete for the scraps of land that do come up, with the 50 to 60 year old age group who have been well set up by their parents, and have farmed in the past great years.

Too wet, generally. Have had many wrecks and losses due to excess moisture. Have had losses to moisture, never to dry. It gets old, and is why we are doing sheep more.

Too many guys are pushing every last stick on their land. Then they come to my land, and poach, use it for recreation, and wonder why they have no wildlife anymore. Maybe that is why they are pushing every last stick? Lol

Cloudy. It is almost always cloudy, and it gets depressing. Sun is nice! We are cold, wet, and cloudy. Bring back the sunshine.

Making hay is tough. Very tough.

Harvesting dry grain is a dream that is too rare.

Long hours of harvest are too rare.

Too much straw per bushel of grain.

Have never seeded in April. Just once I would like to have that option. Too much seeding in June.

Getting stuck sucks. I get stuck way too much. Tired of walking through mud.

Might add more as I think of it... Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 10:20 4 Some enjoyable reading for a change, thanks for time and effort in writing these reports.
Own location in Sask parkland-prairie transition zone is similar in some respects, different in others.
As a youngster, would never have believed the change that was to occur.
Recent years have seen multi thousand acre grain farms become common after a history of more diversified park land style farming.
Stones, early frost, poor drainage,variable soil types and fields cut up by ravines and water runs mean higher costs but productivity is not much behind higher cost land. Lower land costs tend to even things out.
Direct seeding, fertilizer and return of crop residue have slowed soil degradation that was common forty years ago.
At least in short term, higher profitability supports larger and specialized grain farms. Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 10:58 5 A couple more positives,

After reading Mallee's thread, never had to shut down due to heat or fire hazard. I couldn't even function at those temperatures. I start complaining at anything over 10C.

Rocks, most of our land is nearly completely rock free. There is one block of three quarters which with the exception of a patch of a few hundred feet square has NO rocks at all. Most quarters have half a dozen rocks grow per year. The one exception is a little 10 acre patch that grows a bumper crop of rocks year after year.

And a couple of more negatives.

Thanks to the short life span of Grey wooded soils before the OM is all gone under conventional farming, renting land is usually not a paying proposition. Since most cattle guys just continually remove everything that grows to feed it within a few acres of home leaving all the other land completely worn out(then stop renting it and move onto the next piece). Taking it over and trying to make it productive again is just not worthwhile unless I own it.

Limited good land available close by. We sit on an island here, bounded by muskegs and rivers. Across the muskeg east turns into potholes and hills. Across river South turns into light sandy soil, across river west turns into hills and light soil, then nothing but bush. North is muskeg for miles. Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 13:18 6 I am east of Stettler ab we started in early nineties lots of droughts here over the years. zero tilling was a gamechanger here. We usually dry out in july and august but overall not to bad out here. We have lots of rocks and poor ground we don't get 60 bu canola crops. We fight drought more often than being to wet. The last few years have been good got the crops of in time and good grades. Reply With Quote
fjlip's Avatar Dec 27, 2017 | 13:19 7
Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaFarmer5 View Post
A couple more positives,

After reading Mallee's thread, never had to shut down due to heat or fire hazard. I couldn't even function at those temperatures. I start complaining at anything over 10C.

Rocks, most of our land is nearly completely rock free. There is one block of three quarters which with the exception of a patch of a few hundred feet square has NO rocks at all. Most quarters have half a dozen rocks grow per year. The one exception is a little 10 acre patch that grows a bumper crop of rocks year after year.

And a couple of more negatives.

Thanks to the short life span of Grey wooded soils before the OM is all gone under conventional farming, renting land is usually not a paying proposition. Since most cattle guys just continually remove everything that grows to feed it within a few acres of home leaving all the other land completely worn out(then stop renting it and move onto the next piece). Taking it over and trying to make it productive again is just not worthwhile unless I own it.

Limited good land available close by. We sit on an island here, bounded by muskegs and rivers. Across the muskeg east turns into potholes and hills. Across river South turns into light sandy soil, across river west turns into hills and light soil, then nothing but bush. North is muskeg for miles.
We have been camping in your area, and on the highway west of Red Deer. Thought it was extremely busy with traffic. You must be off the highway. Our RM taxes are 6 times yours, yes NO oil revenue. Highway 35 needs a redo, rough spots on about the oldest 25 miles. We are on a busier grid, so dust and some mud happens regularly. But still quiet and crime free to date. Can be dry, but only about 4 bad dry years in last 50. Many TOO wet, some floods and a few frozen crops. Less wind, more humidity like sheepwheat, 20 miles southeast of us. Rolling, crops more uneven, but BTO's with variable rate are getting a handle on that, able to straight cut their whole farm. 4 Terminals within 30 miles make for marketing options. Newest monster high tech Viterra in Sk is one of them. 60 miles to a larger center, 2 hours to a city. 30 miles to forest reserve and lakes, hunting, fishing, snowmobile trails and camping. Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 13:29 8 South East of Regina 30 miles. Drought, drought and more drought. The eighties were relentless with hot winds, grasshoppers, voles in Lentils and Canary. We convinced ourselves that Regina Heavy Clay can hold the moisture, well, to a degree, until you get six-inch cracks. Now, last year, we grew a mediocre crop on 1 1/3 inches of rain. Scarey place to farm, but over the long haul, pulses have been ok up until this year. Windy is not the word! Why do we stay here, you ask? Maybe we are masochists. Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 14:03 9 Have farmed in the central peace district for just over thirty years.

When i started planting my own crops we started with zero tillage seeding operations and believe it was the key to making money and expansion on our grey wooded soils.

Zero tillage and attractive land rental opportunities early on allowed for rapid expansion in land base owned and rented.

Margins have been tight until the commodity super cycle brought us some more prosperous years and being at scale for those years have given us a lot more stability.

Always having had cattle and the opportunity to acquire land close by, but best suited to cattle, had us ramp up our cattle operation post BSE. Drought and labour issues in our area in the seven years following caused us to sell off our breeding herd and reduce it size. Wish that decision had come a year or two later for better prices but we keep our best heifers and have a 100 head cow calf operation that is now profitable and offers expansion opportunities.

The days of 15 and 20 dollar an acre land rent are long gone just like the qtrs of land i had bought for under 100k some only less tan a decade ago.

Our land can be very productive and with our pulse, cereal and canola rotation our long term averages are in the 50, 55, and 45 bu avg range now. Improving soil and organic matter levels and more intense "mass agronomy" and better equipment and practices and seed varieties are the key contributors to this.

The challenge for this area remains the weather volatility and extremes. We get drought, excessive rain events, late and wet springs, and sometimes very wet and early falls and while everyone gets this across the prairies we seem to get more than our share.

On the issue of land there are pockets in the region where land values and rents have outpaced the margin potential of the land in my opinion. Recent land appraisals for the local market are in the 1600 to 2000/acre range and some farms are chasing rent up to double the existing long term contracts in place. There is land for sale but people are asking substantially over the appraised value and very few transactions are taking place right now.

IMHO I think we are entering a correction phase of the commodity cycle and margins will narrow coupled with increasing costs for energy and related transportation costs even in light of lower hyrdrocarbon prices. Even the Bill 6 and new labour standards changes for farms starting in the new year will bring new and increased costs. Throw in the potential variable cost increases with higher taxation both municipally and on income and while I am ever the optimist I now believe caution on investing right now is warranted.

Good luck to all and thanks for starting and contributing to this thread. Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 14:09 10 My area is also transition zone between prairie and parkland. Soil is mostly clay loam. Some is a bit loamier. Our land is a balance between slightly level to extreme hills. Lots of pothole sloughs and bush patches. Where you don’t farm or cut hay poplars grow like wildfire. I hate poplars. When my family settled this land in 1905 there wasn’t a tree as wildfires kept them down. Our land is resilient but some degradation happened in the hills because of tillers and full tillage fallow. Though zero till has sure improved things. Soil would really get hard and dry before zero till but now keeping it covered has sure saved our bacon. Some of our land has a slight solonetz profile. Used to be a lot more cattle but traditionally everything than can be farmed gets farmed. Land is rough but can grow good when managed properly. See lots more mixed north of here and strictly grain outfits south of here. The extreme slopes rival that of the Palouse. Maybe not as long a slopes but definitely as steep. Because of that and heavy soil lots of horsepower needed compared to the level. This land grows decent wheat, canola, and oats but barley and hay kinda are a dud. Peas are a no go cause of plentiful rocks and boulders. Rocks get dug quite often. Our production potential is definitely lower than farms a couple miles south but our inputs are less and disease and bugs aren’t a big problem. Traditionally we’ve only had one or two crop failures in 100 years but have had enough abysmally crappy crops. We keep cows to make use of unfarmable ground and cash flow in poor times. Ran a lot of cows for a while but downsized to what our land base at home could handle. Seems the highest profit cows are the ones that don’t leave the farm for summer grass. Land values are high relative to productivity. Until 12 years ago good ground was more in line but now it’s more than tripled. Many outside factors have pushed it up. But generally it doesn’t trade often like once in a generation. Reply With Quote
SASKFARMER3's Avatar Dec 27, 2017 | 15:42 11 Pros nice black rich soil

Con 2 in rain back to back takes crop

Pro whole farm in a 10 mile radius

Con whole farm in a 10 mile radius hail storm or severe weather isn’t nice

Pro can rent and buy if you want but can choose also

Con two BTOs keep top end going

Pro higher elevation land doesn’t freeze

Con lower nice flat dirt freezes one in 16 and its ugly Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 16:37 12 west central sask. on top edge of dk. brown soil , clay loam , loamy sand . and a few black qtr.s and some sand.
land ranges from J H k crop insurance to l &m on the poor stuff.
mostly flat . some areas lots of rock, not tons of small stuff but big , 2 ft. to 10 ft. around.
not the whole country , just mine .. or seems that way . and they are eventually getting all dug.
except rented land where I am not about to start digging them

climate , more worry about drought than to wet. frost season equal to prince albert for some reason.
have seen frost every month, snow every month,
pretty good area all in all.
dry enough for peas , wet enough for canola and most times , long enough season for wheat
4 terminals within 20 miles, 2 hr from stoon or lloydminister,
and 15 minutes from civilisation. Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 16:40 13 North of Saskatoon.

Pro-can grow a wide variety of crops-peas, red lentils, fababean, canola, wheat, barley, oats and pretty rare the season is too short

Con-except for the last ten years, running short of moisture in August.

Pro-rich black stone free loam soil. Virtually all quarters 160 acres.

Con-land prices have risen dramatically like most places but now too high unless you leave your pencil in the desk drawer.

Pro-two miles off 4 lane primary highway and lots of delivery options within 40 miles. 40 miles to city.

Con-40 miles to city so wife goes shopping a lot! lol

Pro-Sask is a great prov to live in

Con-Sask is within Canada and our idiot PM is going to run uncontrolled deficits for his whole time as idiot PM and my kids kids will struggle to pay it back.

Happy New Year! Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 19:08 14 As you mentioned not moving AF5 I'll give you my experience of 3 places!

SW Scotland Pros:
Easier to make money in a heavier subsidized agriculture. Mild climate. Not prone to drought. Less distances. Well developed agricultural infrastructure - eg auction marts. Surrounded by the people you grew up with, fellow countrymen.

Cons: Poor, very acidic soil, pile of rocks with some dirt sprinkled on top. Expensive land. Too many non farming people in the rural areas. Too much regulation. Generally wind and rain describes the weather. Miserable - no sun kinda place. Archaic farm buildings and houses that you can't alter or demolish. Intense competition for farms. Expensive cattle feed due to shortage of supply (small national land-base) England for a neighbour (just kidding.....maybe!)

West Central Alberta:
Pros: Better soil with no rocks. Endless well water supplies. Half the price of Scottish land of same productive value. Awesome grass growing climate, generally good moisture, No wind. Sunny winters. Lots of grazing opportunities available. Cattle feed usually available - always substantially cheaper than Scotland.

Cons: Reckless oil companies, contaminated land and water supplies. Sandy soil that droughted easily. Lots of competition for farmland/hayland. Extreme frost pocket (about the worst on the prairies) limiting growing season. Lack of plant variety - basically poplar and spruce for trees. Drug/crime riddled rural communities (oil patch side effect) No young people interested in agriculture or working on farms (oil patch side effect)

SW Manitoba: Pros: Cheap land - half price of Alberta land of same productive value. Better soil, high ph clay loam that retains moisture. Awesome native plant variety (diversity is good). Can also grow C4 plants. Diversity of wildlife. Lots of grazing opportunities available. Feed way more abundant and cheaper to buy (no feedlot sector competition) Lots of young people/new entrants interested in regenerative agriculture. No oil industry.

Cons: Rocks (again), windy (again), poorer climate for cattle (heat and humidity) and too many bugs. Prone to drought due to higher temps and harder to manage grass (lignification) Poorer ag infrastructure eg auction marts. Poorer other services eg schools small town businesses. Well water not so dependable in places. Too many environmental hooligans still draining and pushing trees.

One comment that applies to all three: Land increasingly overpriced relative to productive value. Reply With Quote
GDR
Dec 27, 2017 | 21:23 15 I'm about an hour south of AB5, similar pros and cons. We have more black soil though and with it can feel extremes of wet and dry. Traditionally has been a "sure crop" area. Too many acreages and people in general but not much you can do about that.

Pretty happy to live where we do, even with the problems we have still are very fortunate.

Like Grassfarmers post over 3 different areas. Always easy to look over the fence or down the road and think they're better off but usually there is always something to even the score. No such thing as the perfect patch, just gotta learn to adapt to conditions. Reply With Quote
farmaholic's Avatar Dec 27, 2017 | 22:22 16 There's no pro's here in the Slum of the Ghetto, only con's. If you weren't born and raised here, you wouldn't live here!

None of us here are good at what we do and can't be trusted.
Last edited by farmaholic; Dec 27, 2017 at 22:29.
Reply With Quote
fjlip's Avatar Dec 27, 2017 | 22:48 17
Quote Originally Posted by farmaholic View Post
There's no pro's here in the Slum of the Ghetto, only con's. If you weren't born and raised here, you wouldn't live here!

None of us here are good at what we do and can't be trusted.
"Drug/crime riddled rural communities", is that you farma?

Pro, close to city no...? What are roads/highways like? We are always complaining, thinking too far from civilization to matter. Reply With Quote
farmaholic's Avatar Dec 27, 2017 | 23:06 18
Quote Originally Posted by fjlip View Post
"Drug/crime riddled rural communities", is that you farma?

Pro, close to city no...? What are roads/highways like? We are always complaining, thinking too far from civilization to matter.
I can't complain about crime. Never had a problem. Nice to be 30 minutes from a large center for business reasons. Urban creep can be a positive and negative....depending. Poorer land prices can be propped up by squatters. Good land prices propped up by farm and investor demand.

I always like joking around(Ghetto references)..I think we farm middle of the road dirt. With some bad patches. Some is well drained and wide open and some with potholes....we make a living on it. There are limitations, I know and respect them. I've seen both alot better and alot worse. Alot more bush just a couple of miles north of us and little natural bush south of us.

We have good neighbors.....not too much Hutterite pressure right beside us but have investors buying and a BTO(rumoured investor backed) that rivals Colonies now. Young farmers sadly shut out of the market.

Wind can be incessantly relentless some times....day and night, but they say Lethbridge is worse. Seasonal/yearly precipitation can go both ways....but dryness seemed to outweigh too wet. Farming operations can usually be performed within a reasonable time frame unless someone is a shitty manager or has way too much bit off and can't chew it.

I live in a decent RM but the highways are taking a beating with the grain and gravel being hauled on them. Highway 35 between the 48 & 33 is reduced to 8 tonnes max. 35 North of 48 to #1 is getting beaten by gravel trucks hauling gravel to the Bypass project. Highway 48 to WhiteCity used to be alot smoother when I drove to my part time job from 1983 to 1991....with the gravel hauling and grain elevator consolidation, the highway isn't what it used to be.

Lots of grain delivery options within reasonable driving distance. Lots of special crops processors. No canola crushers. Cattle numbers in decline....fewer guys but with larger herds. The area used to be a dairy hotspot....but now only two left in the immediate area but neither are huge operators(more family member operated).

Diverse cropping area....but success totally dependent on precipitation. .....lentils and canola thrive under different conditions and both are grown around here!

Someone once said the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence....but it's harder to mow. I was hoping grassfarmer was going to post and he did(thanks).

There is basically no oil activity right around us. A small oil field close by and a single well maybe 10-12 miles away. Potash is close too but doubt we will see any benefits...just outside the "testing zone".
Last edited by farmaholic; Dec 27, 2017 at 23:47.
Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 23:30 19 I live nw of Edmonton con lots of rocks and the poorest county in Alberta,a large field is anything over 30 acres, as when the oldtimers cleared land in small pieces then threw rocks into bush so when they had money for some more clearing they left a strip of bush where they put the rocks. Pro still have over 300 acres of bush land,I enjoy hunting and trapping more than picking rocks and farming, con have ate more deer than you could imagine, and was good fishing but that has gotten a lot worse the last few yrs, con land is still cheap enough I can leave those trees there, I have made my living for 45 yr and I don't see me changing now.
I left some of the best dirt in Alberta around Red Deer because land was 200$/acre then, If I would have stayed I would still probably be gone as I don't have that killer instinct to survive with the BTOs one more con ,very few BTOs in this neck of the woods and I have close newborns.And haven't punched a time clock since 1971. Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 23:54 20 Grassfarmer, thanks for your input. I really respect anyone who is willing and able to make a move like that, not once but twice. The learning curve must be steep.

Land price is the number one reason why I was looking elsewhere. Could have sold here, and bought back 5 or 10 times as much land in decent parts of Sask or Manitoba 15 to 20 years ago. The trouble was making the payments without an outside source of income, which are much harder to come by elsewhere.
Land is still prohibitively expensive here, but most other areas have since closed the gap, much too late to move now. A lot of my former neighbors did it though. Some have since sold out and came back. In hindsight though, I probably would have been just in time to enjoy the drought years of 01 02 and 03, then the flood years that followed, and concluded that the grass really was greener at home.

That is one more pro and con. Con, we are the last place to green up in the spring, cold wet heavy soil and cold climate, even a few miles in any direction warms up much sooner. I'm easily a week later getting into the feilds than most, leaves are delayed the same.

Pro, in the fall, we stay green longer than almost anywhere, except maybe Vancouver. Nearly always have green grass under snow in November. Tree leaves stay on longer. I find Calgary depressing, it is brown almost year around. Reply With Quote
Dec 27, 2017 | 23:56 21
Quote Originally Posted by Horse View Post
I live nw of Edmonton con lots of rocks and the poorest county in Alberta,a large field is anything over 30 acres, as when the oldtimers cleared land in small pieces then threw rocks into bush so when they had money for some more clearing they left a strip of bush where they put the rocks. Pro still have over 300 acres of bush land,I enjoy hunting and trapping more than picking rocks and farming, con have ate more deer than you could imagine, and was good fishing but that has gotten a lot worse the last few yrs, con land is still cheap enough I can leave those trees there, I have made my living for 45 yr and I don't see me changing now.
I left some of the best dirt in Alberta around Red Deer because land was 200$/acre then, If I would have stayed I would still probably be gone as I don't have that killer instinct to survive with the BTOs one more con ,very few BTOs in this neck of the woods and I have close newborns.And haven't punched a time clock since 1971.
If I had 30 acre fields with trees all around, I'd have almost no productive land left. Lose 50+ feet of production each side of the tree line, and there's not much left. Reply With Quote
Dec 28, 2017 | 07:51 22
Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaFarmer5 View Post
Grassfarmer, thanks for your input. I really respect anyone who is willing and able to make a move like that, not once but twice. The learning curve must be steep.
It is steep curve, but I enjoy this kind of challenge. The biggest advantage I've found is it forces you out of the "you can't do that here - we've always done it this way" paradigm. It's a move to make when you are young though - I found the second move harder both physically and mentally.

One comment you made that I'd challenge was around drought and 2002/3. Yes, it was greener in your area (as it was in ours) than many others but there was still a substantial drought effect. There were plenty herds sold off and hay went to stupid money in your area just as it did mine. People in greener areas like ours saw the worst areas like Hanna and Oyen and couldn't imagine being that brown or that dry. Proportionately though we likely suffered as big a reduction in yield in grass or hay crops as those places that are typically a lot drier. Our grasses were adapted to fairly high and consistent rainfall and being fairly shallow rooted as the water is usually there. Reply With Quote
Dec 28, 2017 | 08:53 23 Roughly 1/2 east of Red deer.
Pros

Family has farmed in same area since 1906. I was fortunate my Great Grandfather picked an area with decent soil. Mostly black sandy loam. Some quarters with stones and gravel overall good soil. Mixed farming area with cows and grain. Except for 2002 feed hasn't been an issue. Relatively flat land with some rolling hills. CPS wheat avg yield 75 bus. Canola 50 bus. 40 mins to 4 different elevators. 25 mins to Stettler where I do a lot of my business. Fortunate to have a few oil leases on our land helps to pay the bills. Never to my knowledge had water contamination issues in 111 years. Always treated well by the oil companies and enjoy dealing with them.

Cons

Land 600K a quarter now and still rising. Land rent has went up 80% over the last 7 years. Competition very intense for land. I have a son trying to farm hard to get a toehold. Thought about moving in the past but never did, as AB5 said to late now. As for negative political issues I would say that is a Canada wide issue.

Overall enjoy farming where I do, my main focus now is improving efficiency. I don't aim for the highest yield I aim for the most profit per bushel. Reply With Quote
Dec 28, 2017 | 10:13 24
Quote Originally Posted by AlbertaFarmer5 View Post
If I had 30 acre fields with trees all around, I'd have almost no productive land left. Lose 50+ feet of production each side of the tree line, and there's not much left.
THe 39 acre fields aren't so bad for cattle as they lay up along edge of field and the grass grows well there because of the manure, only farmed enough to keep grass new but no problem growing 100 bu boy,140 oats for 2 yr then back into hay, some yrs had to farm 200 acres that sucked because bare bones equipment, it worked for me wouldn't say it would work for everyone. Not much land selling here but what has is in the 1400/2000$/acre range. Reply With Quote
Dec 29, 2017 | 16:10 25 Me thinks the farmaholic dost protesteth too much. Perhaps he is trying to keep the rest of us from moving into his utopia? Surely there must be some pros to farming in the slum of the ghetto? Reply With Quote
farmaholic's Avatar Dec 29, 2017 | 16:45 26 Ghetto farming ain't for everyone.... or anyone who knows better! You have to be an eternal optimist who suffers from dementia, Alzheimer's, and amnesia. You need nerves of steel and huge balls. Inputs costs are the same as everywhere else but with half the crop which results in little to no hair and wrinkled scowling face that looks like an old weathered boot.

Misery loves company, so you can buy land here cheaper than some other places, dangle a big enough carrot and you too can be a Ghetto farmer. But I have dibs on the Slum area!

⛔🚷😁 Reply With Quote