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Manitoba suffering driest July on record

Drought
Many Saskatchewan farmers are facing the daunting prospect of planning for 2022 with soil moisture reserves depleted and a business threatened by a dire drought. Morganne Campbell / Global News

The 2021 drought in Manitoba is the worst Harry Siemens has seen since 1988.

Siemens, an agricultural reporter, says he’s hearing from two or three farmers in the Ashern area selling off their entire herd as growing conditions across the province worsen and rain isn’t anywhere in the forecast.

“It’s their entire life business and they’re selling just because there is no feed available. And if there is feed, it’s just too expensive to actually make some money.”

Meteorologist for Environment Canada, Kyle Fougere says Winnipeg saw half the expected rainfall in June and it didn’t get any better in July.

“We’re still finalizing our numbers because we’re not at the end of the month but it’s looking like July could go down as the driest July on record for Winnipeg and the records go back over 140 years. There’s only been 8.5 millimetres so far and the previous record was 9.6 millimetres which was set in 2011.”

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Read more: Severe drought in Western Canada will pressure food industry, raise prices: Expert

Siemens says any moisture from May, and what managed to stick around after the winter — which also saw low precipitation — has essentially dried up.

Siemens says he spoke with a farmer in Vita who has about half the feed he normally would at this time of year, and he already has to start feeding his cattle.

“We spoke for about an hour last night and he kept telling me how dry it is. He told me he won’t have to liquidate, but will likely have to cull off some of his herd.”

Siemens says he worries about some struggling farmers making it through the winter without losing their livelihoods.

Fougere says the forecast shows temperatures up in the high 20s this week with little to no precipitation in the province.

Click to play video: 'Dire conditions for Manitoba farmers' Dire conditions for Manitoba farmers
Dire conditions for Manitoba farmers – Jul 23, 2021

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