Second Cut

FTLComm - Tisdale
August 4, 1999

It is a lush and full crop of alfalfa that is being swathed just East of Tisdale as Tisdale Dehydration takes its second crop off. They are running about nine days behind, but are encouraged by the exceptional yield. The abundance of moisture produces excellent growth but decreases the quality slightly.

The wind row from the doubled swath was a big step and I had to put one foot in the swath to get over it which suggests to me that this is good stuff. Sale of dehydrated pellets is good this year returning to normal purchasing levels by the oriental market. However the glut of "sundried" or cubed alfalfa is still affecting the market.
Last year's large volume of bailed alfalfa which is processed in a different manner and turned into cubes largely for domestic markets, reduced the price of the product. Tisdale Alfalfa Dehydration was able to get rid of most of last year's crop at drastically reduced prices, but Arborfields harvest from last year is still standing in their yard. Parkland Alfalfa had a smaller amount contracted for bailed alfalfa, but still has some on hand. The bad news is that this year's bailed crop is even larger then last years and is expected to be one of the largest ever, so that unless a demand develops for this product, it will be difficult getting this year's crop to market at a fair price.

In the mean time crews are charging forward with cutting the second cut of the pellet product and other crews are out there harvesting this year's sun dried crop.
The swather in this picture is a three year old New Holland which is going on to about the equivalent of twenty thousand miles of cutting. Interestingly enough, among the fleet of machines used by Tisdale Dehydration there are several over twenty year old Hesston machines.

In the picture on the right we can see two dragonflies patrolling an alfalfa seed crop. The regular alfalfa contract runs for three years of harvesting and in the next year the crop is grown for seed. There is an excellent market for alfalfa seed as it actually returns higher profits then when used for pellets or sundried cubes. Those fields being used for seed production are marked with the bee huts. Bees are used in these fields to increase the pollination process.

Once again the illusion of distance is disturbed by this picture that shows the harvesting process as we look toward Tisdale and can see the smoke from the dehydration plant a mile further beyond. This picture was taken with a telephoto lens which tends to not only make things look closer, but reduces the distances in between near and far objects in the picture.

Cutting continues day after day as the swathing crew starts work each morning at seven and shuts down at nine each night. Ranging from Porcupine Plain to Gronlid and St. Brieux they have a lot of fields to process.