Hasty harvest yields big rewards

The Common Ground Growing Project near Rosenfeld saw 300 acres of spring wheat harvested in three-and-a-half hours by 15 volunteers, using seven combines, three grain carts, half a dozen trucks. Profits from the crop will help fight global hunger through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Submitted Photo.

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How long does it take to harvest 300 acres of spring wheat?
Only three and a half hours, if you’re using seven combines, three grain carts, half a dozen trucks, and you can rally a bunch of volunteers who are eager to help.
This hasty harvest took place at the Common Ground Growing Project near Rosenfeld on Saturday, August 11 as part of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank Growing Project initiative. Profits from the sale of the crop will help fight world hunger through CFB.
Project member Kevin Nickel says the wheat was seeded early so that the field would not ripen at the same time as the other farmer’s fields. “We didn’t want to take them away from harvesting their own fields.”
He says there were a few farmers who were finished combining their wheat on the day before, so as a last minute decision, they started making some phone calls to find enough participants who were willing to come out and do it on Saturday.

The team of about 15 volunteers harvested 47 bushels an acre, which Nickel says is pretty good considering the dry conditions.
It was a true community effort, with one company paying for the half the seeding; the rest was covered by the project members. Throughout the growing season there were a number of custom applicators who sprayed herbicide.
The rest of the labour, fuel, time, and equipment was donated by volunteers.
Even lunch on harvest day was supplied by local businesses.
This is the ninth year for the Common Ground Growing Project, and Nickel says it continues to be rewarding, year after year.
“Its always nerve-wracking because we think this year people will just be too busy, but it always works out. It’s really a lot of fun. It all goes so fast, and knowing we’re working together for a great cause makes it all worth it.”
The proceeds can be matched by the Government of Canada 4 to 1 for food aid work in the developing world, according to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank website.