Leduc County asks OHV users to go easy on fields

Snowmobiles, ATVs can harm the crops still laying under the snow

Leduc County

After the strange finish to the 2016 farming season that involved seemingly endless moisture and a harvest that stretched into November, Leduc County is asking off-highway vehicle users to stay out of farm fields.

According to Leduc County’s director of Agriculture Services, there’s a substantial amount of crop still underneath that snow and it has value to farmers.

Garrett Broadbent said by phone Jan. 12 the crops under the snow aren’t going to be the highest quality, “…but they can still be a feed source.” He added that the cereal crops especially, including wheat and barley, can make it through the winter under snow and still be decent feed material.

He noted that every time someone drives on it, whether a snowmobile or ATV, it stresses the crop out.

Plus, stated Broadbent, seeding season is getting closer every day and fields that still have crop laying on them need to be cleaned off. “Snowmobiles or ATVs drive it harder into the ground,” said Broadbent, making the situation even worse for farmers when the snow clears.

Broadbent estimated about 25 per cent of the crop that Leduc County boasted last fall is still under snow. The late moisture during harvest prevented it being collected. He noted, though, some areas are better or worse than others.

Leduc County will be providing more useful advice soon, stated Broadbent. Within a few weeks the county will start a campaign with crop residue management advice for farmers.

His advice for OHV enthusiasts? “Just to respect private property,” said Broadbent. “If there’s any thought of going across that field, respect that producer’s livelihood and stay off that field.”

In a press release, Leduc County noted, “This weekend’s weather forecast is calling for higher temperatures than our region has experienced in weeks, and recreational vehicle users will likely be taking advantage of the warmer conditions. In November, Leduc County launched its keep off the crops campaign due to an extremely wet growing season. As of Jan. 2017, an estimated 25 per-cent of crops in Leduc County remain in field.

“Leduc County would like to remind users that some crops are still in-field and recreational vehicle usage should remain limited to highways and ditches, where permitted.

“Certain crops throughout the county have not yet been harvested, and some of these crops will still be viable in the spring. We’ve received a lot of positive reactions to this campaign, and would like to thank recreational vehicle users for their continued support of our local producers.”

Broad stated in the press release, “Certain crops throughout the county have not yet been harvested, and some of these crops will still be viable in the spring. We’ve received a lot of positive reactions to this campaign, and would like to thank recreational vehicle users for their continued support of our local producers.”

Clarence Nelson, director of Enforcement Services noted, “In Leduc County, recreational vehicles, including quads, dirt bikes, snowmobiles and other ATVs, are not permitted on any private property, public park, environmental reserve, recreation or exhibition grounds, municipal reserve or municipal and school reserve. Users are permitted; however, to ride in single file in the ditches along local county roads or in the parking lane of a road if they need to bypass a hazard or obstacle in the ditch.”

 

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