Alberta's dry weather sparks fears of drought for farmers

Speculation about a dry summer and lower crop yields are starting to drive some prices up for hay and other grains in southern Alberta as farmers worry about drought and wait for rain.

Heavy winds and low moisture causing low germination rates for early crops in southern Alberta

Warm, dry weather is causing some farmers in southern Alberta to fear drought, while some grain prices are rising on speculation there could be less product on the market. (Orlin Wagner/Associated Press)

Three weeks without rain combined with heavy winds in southern Alberta are leading to rising grain prices and fears of drought. 

There's already an impact on the local market, farmers say.

"Prices are going up based on speculation that it is going to dry off and there's going to be less product in the end," said Derek Jacobson of Arrowood Farm, which is located southeast of Calgary. 

There has been very little rain since April, so Jacobson and other farmers are relying more on irrigation at a crucial time in the growing season.

While things aren't dire yet, rain will be crucial in the coming weeks, according to experts.

"So really we're in a critical period right now that we're needing rain," said agri-climate specialist Trevor Hadwen.

"We need the rain to start off and produce those crops that are already emerged. But we certainly need the rainfall in the next two-week period here to continue the production process," he said.

Speculation about a dry summer and lower yield is already starting to drive some prices up for hay and other grains, and it will continue without rain in the near future, according to Jacobson. 

"We are going to see an effect and it will definitely hurt people around here if it dries off even more," he said.


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