Friday, October 15, 2021

Prairie drought ruins crop, prompts cattle sell-off

Weeks of persistent heat and little moisture have spoiled crops on the prairie and insufficient forage forced ranchers to sell cattle early. But insurance and government aid are providing some respite along with a long-term outlook of hope for the future.

Matt Struthers, a crop extension specialist with Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture, said this is the driest year many farmers can miss, although a good year for some, depending on where they are located.

He told The Epoch Times that in Saskatchewan, “the Southwest and West Central regions—a large part of them—received the least rain in the entire season, [but] Some parts of the southeast … got more rain than other areas and they are looking really good.”

Crops ripened early in most of the prairie in 30-degree heat for several days this summer, while there was too little to harvest in moisture-free areas.

“Some fields in one field can look really nice, and two miles away they have drought stress. So it’s like the luck of the draw this year to see who rained. And unfortunately, most people didn’t get the rain, Struther said.

He said the drought in Manitoba is severe but Alberta is doing better than that. “They [Manitoba] Been whistling a long time ago. Even at the start of the season, they were saying they were in bad shape. And again, parts of Alberta are definitely drier in general. …they have larger irrigation districts than Saskatchewan, so they have that advantage. “

‘Worst thing I remember’

West of Mancota, Saskatchewan, hail exacerbated Francis Crass’s drought problems. Forty percent of his peas were destroyed, he said in an interview, reducing his yield to 10 to 15 bushels per acre.

“I have 600 acres of canola which I don’t think a bushel can cover an acre because it just started to flower like that summer [at the] Late June and early July and just cooked it up,” Kress said of the effects of the drought.

“It’s probably the worst I can remember. At least in the ’80s, it was bad, but I didn’t have $500,000 of operating debt to look through, worry.”

Cress has 150 cattle. He shaved his otherwise worthless canola so that his cattle could eat the stalks. He said he would not sell his flock more than usual, unlike many who would be forced to sell this fall due to insufficient feed.

“We’re going to tie up anything that comes behind an alliance. I have a little carryover [of feed] since last year, but most of the people here have zero to none carryover, so there are a lot of people around who are hurting, and doing worse. From what I have heard, there has been 50 per cent sell-off on cows,” he said.

“This year, instead of getting $1,200 for a dry cow in the fall, we might get 400 or 500 bucks.”

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Kress said recent rains “really brightened things up here”, but it was too late to help the harvest.

“I remember this happening very often, but young people who are 30 and 35 or starting at 25 have never seen it. Those are the people I’m sorry for because they know Not what a bad year is,” he said.

“I have enough insurance that things will be good this year, but if we don’t get a bunch of moisture this fall, things will look really, really, really bad next year.”

‘Hope for better things next year’

For now, the farmers have the throne. some in march federal-provincial change The Agricultural Sustainability Program made more funding available and made funding easier, better helping farmers in need because of poor yields and other challenges. In early August, changes were made to allow farmers to reach their greater agricultural potential while still planting and claiming failed crops. interim benefit payment before completing your program year.

Then on August 10, the government of Saskatchewan announced that the federal-provincial agricultural recovery program It will provide $297 million in funding to help drought-affected cattle producers, which represents a $200 per person payment for cattle.

The programs offer some consolation to Wayne Charteris, who farms near Cerrobert.

“We had about 1,000 acres of wheat and barley written off. We gathered a herd and I just found a few cows grazing. … and we need the feed anyway, so it works just like that,” Charter said in an interview.

“I’ve got enough feed with these bales for now, but I’m still going to be short, so I’m definitely going to sell some cows.”

He easily sells about 10 per cent of his cattle every year but “this year maybe it will be 30 per cent,” he said, “[the price has] It’s been falling every day in the last month, but it’s a matter of supply and demand.”

Last year, Chartreuse harvested 48 bushels per acre of seeded canola, but this year’s crop is nowhere close, “probably seven or eight bushels per acre.”

As for his pulses, “he turned 40 last year” [bushels per acre] And it turns 15 this year,” he said. “I’m glad I got crop insurance.”

Charteris said his promising crop had “ripened” by seven weeks of continuous heat, but it is still better than what he experienced in 2002. “We didn’t even get our seed back that year. … There wasn’t enough to bale anywhere.”

“Next year is hoping for better things that we can do,” Charteris said.

Lee Harding is a journalist and think tank researcher based in Saskatchewan, and a contributor to The Epoch Times.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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