Lack of snow pack, run-off and rainfall combined with extended heat waves led County of Stettler Council to declare an Agricultural Disaster on Aug. 11 at their regular council meeting.
After reviewing the most recent moisture maps, the 2021 growing season appears to be the third worst year in the last 50 years for relative moisture conditions.
“Farmers are currently running combines on very short crops. We’re seeing crops that are too short for equipment to pick up,” said Larry Clarke, reeve for the County of Stettler.
“Farmers are going to be struggling to make something of their crops, and producers are going to be paying to find feed that is not going to be readily available. Surface water in some areas is in severe depletion, or in many cases bone dry,” he added.
Last Friday, Aug. 6, the Alberta government announced a relief program for livestock and bee producers. Relief for other commodities has yet to be announced.
Discussions with producers throughout Stettler County have shown similar impacts of the dry weather in all areas, with the situation being most dire in the southeast region of the County and marginal improvement as you move to the northwest. Most producers reported an intent to combine as the price of grains are holding, but those producers are expecting only limited economic benefit due to reduced yields (25-40 per cent).
Producers are reporting 20-40 per cent yield of normal hay crop harvests. Pastures are dry and bare, with producers now having to consider downsizing their herds.
County Council made this declaration of with the intent to encourage the provincial and federal government to initiate programming to assist our agricultural producers.
As of Aug. 6th, 22 municipalities had declared an agricultural disaster in the Province of Alberta.