Beachburg, ON – Dave Mackay, President of the Renfrew County National Farmers Union reports the present drought situation is serious and almost to the point of becoming critical for area farmers. Farmers had already expressed concern two weeks ago, however the situation has escalated to very critical during the last week with no relief in the long-range weather forecast. It appears the areas most affected are Renfrew County and including Lanark, Hastings and Ottawa Carleton Counties.
Mackay went on to add, “This is a one in 50 year drought. The last one recorded was in 1965 and it may not have been as severe so early in the growing season. Lack of rain, very hot days and spurts of gusting winds have played havoc with corn crops and including soybeans, hemp, small grains and hay. In addition, it appears most farmers are experiencing very dry pastures with some beef farmers having to resort to already feeding hay and it being only the middle of July.
Second cut hay fields are being cut with so little hay in the windrows that it is barely visible. Some farmers are worried what may happen to the re-growth on these fields. However, they appeared to have no other option at this time.
Local beef and hog farmers and some cash croppers were barely getting into a recovery mode after about eight years of below cost of production returns following the mad cow situation. Now those same farmers are faced with another disaster. In addition to feed supplies being affected, wells and watering holes are going dry. Only a percentage of farmers carry hay and pasture insurance. Tapping into that insurance program never covers all the losses involved.
“In summary, we want to advise our farmers that the NFU is taking action to advise our agricultural contacts of the seriousness of this exceptional dry weather affecting our family farms”, concluded Mackay.