Dry spring costly for southern Alberta farms, ranches
Lack of rain has delayed germination, forcing ranchers to use up hay reserves
Dry, windy conditions are becoming costly for some southern Alberta cattle farmers.
By this time of year seeds should be germinating and cattle should be out grazing.
Instead, Roy Newman, who grows canola and raises cattle in the Blackie area, southeast of Calgary, has had to dip into hay reserves.
"Right now we're still feeding our cattle like it's the middle of winter, because there's not enough grass to send them to pasture," he said.
"So, it's going into our hay reserves which we have for emergencies and it is dwindling fast."
Newman said farmers in the area need rain soon so that seeds can germinate.
"Our biggest concern is some grains not germinating because of lack of moisture and the hay and pastures are under great stress right now," he said.
"Three, four inches of rain would help our hay situation immensely."
Conditions in central and northern Alberta are better, owing to a good snow pack, said James Wright, a risk analyst with the province's Agriculture Financial Services Corporation.
"We're off to a bit of a slow start because of the cool April that we had, but we're catching up," he said.