Roads are closed and hay quality is deteriorating
By Diego Flammini
Heavy rains and flooding is causing difficulties for Manitoba farmers.
Some communities have felt the effects of three straight Colorado lows, which have brought heavy rain and localized flooding.
“The Red River Valley and Interlake have flooding occurring,” Bill Campbell, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), told Farms.com. “But it’s predicted the peak of the flooding won’t get here for another few days.”
The Red River basin, for example, received an average of 40 to 50 mm of rain over the last few days, a May 1 bulletin from the provincial government says.
This volume of water on farmland will delay crop producers.
Farmers haven’t started seeding yet, Campbell says, but the land will need to be assessed once the water levels recede.
“For the most part people are concerned about what conditions will be like once all of this water disappears,” he said. “It’s hard to estimate damage or what changes have happened to these fields, or if there needs to be cultivation or some other means to get them into seeding condition.”
The recent weather events are also affecting the livestock sectors.
“It’s hard on the cattle because there’s not a dry spot for them to sit down on,” Michael Duguid, who farms between Gimli and Arborg, told CBC.
Animal losses have been reported, hay is scarce and good can’t get to market because of closed roads, Campbell said.
“We’ve got cows, hogs and chickens that can’t get to processing facilities, so that’s causing challenges,” he said. “Milk trucks can’t access farms either. There isn’t a lot of hay as it is, farmers are finding it hard to access the hay on their farms because it’s under water, and then the quality of the hay may have suffered as well.”
Multiple Manitoba communities, 24 in total, have declared states of emergency as of May 3.
KAP is monitoring the situations closely, Campbell said.
“We’re in contact with rural municipalities to make sure ag production is maintained,” he said.