Abnormally dry conditions affecting farmers’ crops in southwestern Ontario. Globalnews.ca

Crispin Colvin has seen some of his crops die of thirst over the past few weeks.

The recent lack of rain in southwestern Ontario means Colvin’s farm will produce less corn than usual this harvesting season and that means far less income – and much more worrying – for farmers like him. , who depend on crops for their primary source of income. ,

“It’s stressful, to say the least,” says Colvin, who farms soybeans, corn, and hay for livestock in Thorndale, Ont.

“But there’s not much you can do when it’s dry conditions like this.”

Many farmers in southwestern Ontario are currently grappling with the effects of unusually dry conditions in June and July, a condition that is damaging crops and reducing their expected yields.

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Colvin, who is also executive director of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, says less rainfall and subsequent lower yields will create a domino effect in the food chain, creating fewer products and driving up prices.

“If we’re getting less product, there’s less to process, less to sell.” I want the consumer to get what they want, what they expect, but I can’t do it without rain. can.”

Agriculture Canada’s Canadian Drought Monitor map, which looks at the severity of drought conditions across the country, shows “unusually dry” conditions at Vaughan, north of Toronto, Chatham-Kent in southwestern Ontario.

Trevor Hadven, a federal Department of Agriculture climatologist, says some crops can do well in dry conditions, while other crops like corn and soybeans don’t do well during the flowering period.

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“We need a little bit of moisture, we need a little wind and more mild temperatures for corn growers to go through that critical phase in the agricultural season,” he says.

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James Herle, a farmer near Waterloo, Ont., says some of the rain early Monday is likely to be the most he’s seen in two months, but at this stage growers need three or four times the amount to help some crops. will be required.

“I see a lot of crops, especially corn and soybeans, that really look like they are suffering and some of them are past the point of no return,” says Herrell, who specializes in a variety of fresh vegetables and Also grows some soybeans.

“There is definitely a trickle-down effect in terms of what the consumer sees. That would have to incur some increased costs, as the market is losing supply.”

According to a monthly report from the University of Waterloo Weather Station, half of June’s rainfall occurred in the first week of the month, followed by almost two weeks of no rain.

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The report said the month saw a total rainfall of only 48.6 mm, much lower than the long-term average of 82.4 mm around that time of year, which is the driest June in the region in 15 years.

The first 15 days of July saw only 4 mm of rainfall, says the station’s coordinator, Frank Seglanieux, continuing the pattern of dry conditions seen last month.

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“The whole of southern Ontario has had to deal with this drought,” says Seglanieux, noting that such conditions are only seen in the region on average every 20 years.

The forecast is showing the possibility of wet conditions in late July and early August, Seglenix says, but the question remains how much rain it will bring and whether it will be enough to counter the water shortages seen in recent months. will be significantly wider.

Higher levels of precipitation in spring and winter, and drought conditions in summer, are in line with changing climate models for this part of the country, he says.

“It’s impossible to say that a specific season, a specific month, a specific day is 100 percent caused by climate change,” he says. “But what we have seen is certainly within the narrative of what we would expect to see in a future environment.”

© 2022 Canadian Press