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Manitoba still in a drought despite rain: Agriculture minister

Dylan Williamson / Supplied

Some June rain offered relief for farmers in Manitoba, but the province is still well behind its usual rainfall amounts.

“We’re still in drought conditions, there’s absolutely no doubt about that,” said Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development, Blaine Pedersen. “Rain has helped but it’s a bit spotty.”

The most recent outlook from the Canadian Drought Monitor shows all of southern Manitoba is experiencing some type of drought conditions with extreme drought in areas between Winnipeg and the Saskatchewan border.

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Rainfall amounts recorded by the province show a mixed bag of precipitation in the month of June. Some weather stations reported around 90 millimetres of rain while others show less than 30 mm.

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Pedersen says it’s not shaping up to be a big harvest year because of the effects of dry weather and above-average temperatures. And it’s impacting more than just the crops.

“The real concern is in the livestock side, the low water, the pasture conditions, there’s very slow, little growth in the pastures,” he said.

On top of the effects a lack of rain has for cattle, come winter, Pedersen says there will likely be a hay shortage.

HOT SUMMER FORECASTED FOR MANITOBA

Environment Canada’s modeling is calling for a greater-than-usual number of days with temperatures above 30 C in July and August, as the first day of summer arrived Sunday.

“(Models) saying warm, warm, warm, we think every month will be warmer than normal,” said Environment Canada meteorologist David Phillips.

Manitoba experienced double the normal amount of spring days with above 30 C highs in 2021.

“June started off really warm with a temperature of 36 degrees on June 2, that’s sometimes warmer than you get all summer,” Phillips said.

But it’s too soon to say if any much-needed rain will come along with the warm weather in the summer, he said.

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“The problem is the precipitation this time of year comes in heavy amounts or no amounts,” Phillips said. “It could be raining in your front yard and not in your backyard, so it’s hard to generalize.”

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