Usually in this space Robin Booker and I talk about what’s been popular — the stories already generating traffic — on our website and on social media feeds recently.
This week is different. We’re discussing a story whose eventual scope is, unfortunately, just beginning to be understood.
As I sit down to write this column, it’s barely 36 hours after southern and western Manitoba has just been hit with a frost so severe that it appears many farmers are contemplating re-seeding.
One of our Twitter followers, Mike Stott (@BlackPearl152) who farms near Brandon, says the mercury dipped to -5 C on his farm.
Other reports say the mercury dipped as low as -7 C.
Bill Craddock, whose farm is located near Fannystelle, told the Commodity News Network “many of the fields in the region were ‘wiped out’ by the frost.”
Twitter was heating up afternoon of June 1 with chatter about how much damage had been done and where.
According to the WP’s Robert Arnason, early reports suggest the frost hit areas west of Winnipeg, around Elm Creek and Elie. Fields north and west of Brandon were also affected.
Justin Jenner, who runs a 4,500 acre grain and cattle operation near Minnedosa wasn’t sounding optimistic.
“It’s looking like most of the (fields) will have to be re-seeded,” Jenner told Arnason.
Jenner, a Keystone Agricultural Producers vice-president, said he’s going to have to reseed 1,000 acres of canola.
Elmer Kaskiw, a Manitoba Agriculture crop production adviser in Minnedosa, says that Jenner is not alone.
“We’ve never had this type of black frost…. Saturday (May 30) morning by nine or 10 o’clock, the plants were turning black…. The dry, black frost, it really smoked the canola quite badly.”
Reuters News Service out of Winnipeg sent out a tweet June 1 stating that 700 insurance claims had already been filed that morning, nearly doubling the year’s total and that most were for canola.
It’s early in the week, but this story has been pegged to the top of the list of stories most popular on the WP site for most of this day.
If the damage is as widespread and severe as early reports indicate, this story and its follow-ups will continue to draw the attention of readers.
Follow the conversation on this story via the following URL: http://bit.ly/1Ghlkcg
Share your frost damage photos, and your thoughts. As always, we’d love to hear what you’ve got to say.