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Manitoba drought impacts all livestock

Manitoba drought impacts all livestock

Hog farmers may soon see greater impacts on feed and water availability due to extreme weather

By Jackie Clark
Staff Writer 

Dry conditions in western Canada are beginning to impact feed prices and availability for hog producers. 

Much of the immediate relief efforts for farmers facing extreme weather conditions has been focused on those with grazing livestock, however all producers are likely to be impacted eventually. 

“We’re not seeing a significant impact of shortages yet, but really are expecting that to come because feed is in short supply and it’s going to get much tighter,” Cam Dahl, general manager of Manitoba Pork, told 

“I absolutely understand why there has been a focus on beef and bison and sheep right now, especially in relation to pasture and water, the feed issue is going to impact all livestock, and that includes pigs of course,” he explained. Corn and soybeans are “where that energy and protein comes from. all those inputs are going to be a lot scarcer in the coming months.”

Manitoba Pork and other industry groups “will be looking to see if there’s some support through AgriRecovery that might be made available to help producers, rather than see barns go empty,” he added. 

In addition to looming feed shortages, “there are some concerns with water supply,” Dahl said. “Access to water is something that we’re watching very closely.”

In drought-affected regions, “we’re seeing significant strains on those systems. If you have a barn full of animals, you can’t really restrict your water usage.”

Some rural municipalities and cities in southern Manitoba have declared states of Drought Emergency.  The government of Manitoba has identified the region of southern Manitoba as being in an Extreme Drought, the category that occurs only once every 20-50 years. Morden, Winkler and the RM of Stanley are in an Exceptional Drought, a 50+ year event, according to a joint release from the cities and RM. 

“The supplies just aren’t being replenished because we’re not getting any rain,” Dahl said. 

In Morden, an extreme drought response plan is in effect, including restrictions on many types of water use. Agricultural operations are not permitted to spray or irrigate from City of Morden sources, and livestock expansion is not permitted. 

Zoran Rakic\iStock\Getty Images Plus photo

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