The federal government is giving farmers three years to figure out what pesticides they can use to protect their crops from aphids and mites, but some say they aren't convinced about the alternatives. Health Canada confirmed plans Wednesday to gradually phase out two of the three nicotine-based pesticides — neonicotinoids, also known as neonics — that are currently approved for use in Canada. Plans to phase out the third have already been announced.
Some farmers in southern Saskatchewan have started harvesting their crops as topsoil conditions continue to worsen across the province due to hot temperatures and the lack of rain. Saskatchewan Agriculture reported Thursday crops are rapidly drying and many pulse crops are being desiccated. Officials said any future rainfall may have limited benefits, however later seeded crops need rain to help heads and pods fill.
Farmers whose crops were wiped out by the late June frost in Nova Scotia may get access to some emergency financial assistance from a government relief program. In response to the cold snap in early June, the federal and provincial agriculture departments announced they would allow more flexibility to join the margin-based AgriStability program, which supports farmers facing large declines in income brought on by lost production.
Farmers have been affected by the perils of nature for centuries and the current drought being experienced across the region is an example of this reality. Significant rain hasn't fallen in most of Niagara for about a month, and when this happens, the livelihoods of people in the agriculture business are greatly affected, according to Jerry Winnicki, agronomy manager of Clark Agri Service, a company of experts that helps farmers yield as much quality and quantity in their annual summer crops.
Several weeks of intense, hot weather and little rain has Ottawa-area farmers worried about lower yields for this farming season. Rob Parks, 44, says the growing season on his farm at Fallowfield and Eagleson roads began "spectacularly" with good seeding in ideal conditions and much less mud than last year.
Two hard frosts in June have wiped out an estimated 70 per cent of Nova Scotia's wild blueberry crop and producers don't know if they'll even bother harvesting what little remains. "The prices that are offered for the fruit will determine whether it is economical to harvest it or not," said Peter Rideout, the executive director of the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia.
Rainfall over the weekend was quite varied around the Province, but was a welcome site for many farmers and ranchers. One of the drier areas in Saskatchewan has been in the South West. It rained Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, but according to Terri Lang, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, the showers were a bit deceiving.
Some strawberry growers will have fewer berries on offer this season, due to an unusually cold winter killing off many of their plants. These growers are reporting losses of anywhere from 20 per cent to about half their crop gone. Their fields couldn’t withstand the intense periods of cold we experienced this past winter, said Manitoba Agriculture’s fruit crops industry development specialist Anthony Mintenko.
Freezes and frosts have damaged more than half of the Christmas tree crop in some parts of Nova Scotia this spring. The council has been talking with the provincial Agriculture Department and the Federation of Agriculture on possible emergency funding to help growers. Bonnyman didn’t have a damage estimate but noted that Nova Scotia growers export at least $15 million in trees each year.
The Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) is still assessing hail claims from an intense thunder storm that swept across much of southwest and south-central Manitoba the evening of June 14. As of press time Monday morning MASC had received 250 spot loss hail claims and 120 re-seeding claims as a result of hail damage, David Koroscil, MASC’s claims manager said in an interview.
The Nova Scotia wild blueberry industry has been hit hard by recent adverse weather conditions. Officials expect this year’s harvest will produce less than half of what it typically would. For the last three weeks, farmers from one end of the province to the other have been hit multiple times with frost. Before the cool weather struck, farmers were optimistic about this year’s blueberry harvest.
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