Drought withers crops, stresses Sask. farmers
The ground is so dry and deeply cracked on Todd Lewis’s farm in southern Saskatchewan that he says if a wrench is dropped down one of the crevasses, “we’ll never find it.”
“If you dropped a rod down there that was eight or nine feet long, you wouldn’t hit the bottom of that crack,” Lewis told The Canadian Press. “It would disappear.”
Lewis, who is also president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, farms near Gray south of Regina, and the region has been extremely dry.
Environment Canada figures show Regina had only 1.8 millimetres of rain last month — the driest July in 130 years.
It was the driest July ever recorded in the city of Moose Jaw, about 70 kilometres west of Regina. Moose Jaw got 4.3 millimetres of rain in July, less than the 4.6 millimetres it got in 1929.
It was also hot.
Regina had 11 days over 30 C in July. The city of Swift Current, about 245 kilometres west of Regina, saw 14 days over 30 C.
Lewis said canola is taking the hardest hit because of the heat and might only yield half the crop of an average year.
“We’re always optimistic being involved in agriculture, but really we’re going to have a down year, no question,” he said.
But Lewis said areas south and west of his farm are in “a pretty desperate situation.”
Ranchers in southern Saskatchewan are also facing poor grazing conditions and have scaled back hay cutting because of the hot, dry weather.