Cattle farmers in Manitoba, already suffering from drought, may face worse conditions

Cattle farmers in Manitoba, already suffering from drought, may face worse conditions


Jason Bednarek has never seen such a severe drought in the Interlake area of ??Manitoba. In mid-July, this third-generation farmer has begun to worry about him. What must be done to survive the winter.

“I can’t even express in words how bad it is,” said Bednarek, owner of 2B Land and Cattle. “I have never seen anything worse.”

Bednarek doesn’t know how he can feed his 2,000 calves near Ashion, because the lack of rain and heat this season has caused him to lack hay and other crops as feed.

As the longer heat warning is coming, he and others face the difficult decision to sell large quantities of livestock at auction.

“The damage has been done,” he said. “The only solution is to stop the bleeding and slaughter the cows.”

Bednarek is one of many livestock keepers in Manitoba facing a devastating season due to drought.

It has become a reality that insufficient rainfall before summer has led to an increased risk of drought. Several cities in Manitoba have declared a state of agricultural disaster.

And the situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon.

On July 5th, Saint Laurent, a rural municipality in the Interlaken region of Manitoba, declared a state of agricultural disaster. (Tyson Kosik/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Long-term heat waves will become more common

Alysa Pederson, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said that Environment Canada predicts that for the rest of this month, a series of high temperature warnings will be issued in most parts of central and southern Manitoba. Continue to exceed 30 degrees Celsius.

She said the impact of climate change means that these longer-lasting heat waves will become more common in the next few years.

She said that Winnipeg’s average total precipitation from September to June was about 365 mm, and Brandon’s was 335 mm. Pedersen said that during the most recent September to June period, these places received about half-185 and 186 mm, respectively.

Severe drought conditions have damaged pastures and farmland in parts of southern Manitoba and the Interlaken region, so that many cattle farmers are forced to consider selling most of their livestock when trying to find feed. (Bryce Hoy/CBC)

The coming high temperatures mean that the situation may get worse before livestock producers find it difficult to find feed.

“I sympathize with these people, and my heart is with these people,” said Trevor Hadwen, an agroclimatologist at the Canadian Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Drought reports from federal agencies, Can be used as an early warning signal.

“This is something we are paying very close attention to.”

Two “abnormal” droughts in a century

The latest report was released last week. It is based on precipitation from September to June 30 last year and combines hydrological, meteorological, agricultural and socio-economic data.

The report shows that large areas of central and southern Manitoba and the Interlaken River are facing “extreme” and “abnormal” droughts not seen in decades.

Hardwin said that extreme droughts usually occur only once every 20 to 50 years, while special droughts are defined as events that occur once in a hundred years.

The latest drought monitoring report shows that parts of Interlaken, Manitoba, and some western and southern regions are experiencing “abnormal” droughts. Trevor Hadwen, an agricultural and climate expert at the Canadian Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said this is usually considered a once-in-a-century event. (Drought Monitoring Report/Canada Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food)

The areas surrounding Brandon and communities in southern Manitoba across the Canada-US border are experiencing an abnormal drought, which is the worst drought reported by the agency. The same is true for most of Interlaken.

Hardwin said that, statistically speaking, this shows that these places have never been so dry since around 1970.

Dauphin, Brandon and Winnipeg and surrounding areas have experienced extreme droughts and some of the driest conditions in the past five years.

Interestingly, Hardwin said his agency continues to listen to farmers’ reports on this year’s comparison with 1988, when severe droughts ravaged most of western Canada, especially the southern prairies.

“I fully understand this,” he said. “In terms of insufficient rainfall, we have exceeded these figures everywhere.”

Need more than hay

Kirk Kiesman, a farmer and general manager of the Ashern auction market, said that it is expected that in the coming weeks, a multi-generation farmer family in the Ashern area will sell all of their cattle.

“There are tears,” said Kiesman, who has cultivated in the Ashken area for about ten years and owns about 220 cattle.

Another cattle producer in his 80s told Kiesman that the drought was worse than in 1988, mainly because farmers could drive to a nearby place to buy feed.

“No one wants to see their breeding stock sold for meat,” Caseman said.

Farmer Kirk Kisman (second from right) stands with his wife and children on a pasture near Man Ashion. (Submitted by Kirk Caseman)

“Everyone is trying to find as much feed as possible to raise as many cows as possible, but, you know, to some extent, you have to decide no, some of these cows will have to leave.”

Ashern auctions usually do not start until the last week of August. Caseman said that this year, it started two months ahead of schedule, and the organizers expect to hold an emergency drought auction every two weeks in the summer.

He said that due to lack of rain caused growth retardation, many people in the Interlake area do not know where 90% of their hay and other feed will come from in the coming months.

He continues to listen to the opinions of many farmers who are facing challenges in feeds like him.

To many people, the next few months will look bleak.Provided by Manitoba Online and telephone consultation For farmers and other people in rural areas who need someone to talk to.

Keithman said that being together is important.

“The important thing is to have someone, if you need to cry, you can cry, if you need to yell, you can yell,” he said.

“These are all the important things people need to remember-they are not alone.”

Kirk Kiesman’s cattle graze on the pasture near Ashern, Marne. (Submitted by Kirk Caseman)

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