Why do so many people look at me as though I am crazy or some sort of conspiracy theorist when I mention the fact that so many crops are now desiccated with herbicide immediately prior to harvest? I actually got in a bit of an argument with a person yesterday who didn't believe me? Albeit, I had another lady bring up the fact herself...whew...ok, I am not crazy. Glad to hear it.
For all those who do not believe me that is just too bad. It is a fact. It is not an urban legend. Instead of swathing wheat, most conventional farmers now spray their wheat crops several days prior to combining. In this way the wheat can dry down all at once and still stay standing to avoid any moisture damage that can occur in a swath.
In the states and drier, warmer climates, desiccation is not necessary. The growing season is long enough to simply allow the wheat to die off and dry naturally. Up here in Canada, that is not practical so you see tracks in the nearly mature wheat that indicate a sprayer has been in action.
You don't often actually see the farmer spraying. I can't help but think that this is on purpose. I have seen the spraying many times though and I know for a fact that it is now an extremely common practice. I challenge all of you to observe for yourself this fall. When I see it again next fall I will video it for you all to see for yourself. In the meantime, have a look at Kevin's video interview of our farm from last summer where he shows some of the tracks.