“A perfect storm” of obstacles is threatening thousands of Alberta beehives. “It’s almost been like a perfect storm in the last year,” said Ron Greidanus, owner of Greidanus Honey Farm in Stettler and a board member of the Alberta Beekeepers Commission. “There’s no one particular reason for it. There are a number of significant contributing factors.”
The latest Saskatchewan agriculture crop report says farmers are busy spraying for weeds and insects. Most of the province received some rain this past week. Gouldtown in the southwest had the highest amount at 74 millimeters or almost 3 inches. The crop report says most farmers would welcome more rain, but some fields have been saturated.
Producers in the Steinbach area are reporting crop damage from Saturday’s hailstorm. The storm dropped loonie sized hail in parts of southeastern Manitoba, along with rain accumulations as high as 51 millimetres at St. Pierre. Bargen is Farm Production Extension Specialist Crops for Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development.
Shawn Gorr surveys his canola crop after a massive hailstorm tore through his property northwest of Acme, Alta. last weekend. “Basically all we are left with is a little stem sticking out of the ground and some roots sticking out of the ground.” he tells. “It’s like someone took a lawnmower out there and cut them right down.”
Losing a crop this early in a season is a catastrophic scenario for Greenhill Produce, says the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA). Details of the COVID-19 outbreak at the greenhouse operation in Chatham-Kent was released as a case study in OFVGA’s report, illustrating the importance of immediate containment and how the 14-day quarantine period affects the producer in an uninsurable scenario.
The province’s crop commissions are urging producers to call their local Agricultural Financial Services Corporation office to get their unharvested acres examined. “The message from AFSC was that they were going to be flexible and work with farmers of unharvested grain,” said Alberta Wheat chair Todd Hames.
Mandatory coronavirus quarantines of seasonal foreign workers in Canada could hurt that country's fruit and vegetable output this year, and travel problems related to the pandemic could also leave U.S. farmers with fewer workers than usual. Foreign labor is critical to farm production in both countries, where domestic workers shun hard physical labor and low pay.
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