Farmer Ash Whitney stands on the back of his truck as he throws out hay to his cattle in a drought-effected paddock on his property located west of the town of Gunnedah in northwestern New South Wales.  |  REUTERS/David Gray photo

Australian farmers running out of time

Drought-hit producers slaughtered 659,000 head of cattle in June, the highest monthly figure in three years

SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) — Danny Stork, a livestock farmer in Glen Oak, 180 kilometres north of Sydney, has 20 bales of hay left for his 100 head of cattle. He is now feeding them light rations in the hope the winter drought breaks. If it doesn’t, and weather forecasts suggest it won’t, he will run […] Read more

Every day without rain brings more worry to Alberta and Saskatchewan cattle producers. 
| File photo

Feed and water shortage hammers ranchers

Every day without rain brings more worry to Alberta and Saskatchewan cattle producers. Pastures across wide areas in both provinces are parched, hay yields are generally below average and, in some places, livestock water sources have dried up. Potential feed shortages this winter are on many producers’ minds, which might result in sale of breeding […] Read more

Dryness threat not getting any better

Conditions range from ‘abnormally dry’ to ‘extreme drought’ across a large portion 
of Western Canada, causing increasing concern for the upcoming crop

Most prairie grain growers could be looking at a dry and early seeding season in 2018 unless conditions change dramatically over the next two to three months. Trevor Hadwen, an agro-climate expert with Agriculture Canada, says conditions across much of the West remain unusually dry. Agriculture Canada just released the latest version of its Canadian […] Read more


Drought sends mustard production in steep decline

Mustard production projected by Statistics Canada shows a decline of almost 50 percent from a year ago. However, Richard Marleau, chair of the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission, said the numbers could have been far worse. Mustard is grown mainly in southern Saskatchewan and southern Alberta, two areas hit hardest by drought. That accounts for most […] Read more

Feeding will begin much earlier at Six Mile Ranch this fall after fire swept through stockpiled winter grazing acreage last week.
 | Facebook/Corinne Gibson photo

Dry conditions in Sask. set grass, fence lines, combine ablaze

Feeding will begin much earlier at Six Mile Ranch this fall after fire swept through stockpiled winter grazing acreage last week. “We have lost about 11 miles of fence and about 2,800 acres of grass ourselves,” said Clayton Gibson of the Red Angus operation at Fir Mountain, Sask. “Neighbours have lost probably another 800 acres […] Read more


Cattle handling expert Dylan Biggs gave a workshop Aug. 9 east of Champion, Alta., organized through the Foothills Forage and Grazing Association. The pasture is an example of dry conditions in the region, similar to those in southern Saskatchewan. Shortage of pasture and hay might require some innovation on the part of ranchers dealing with drought.  |  Barb Glen photo

‘We’re trying to prolong the agony’

Drought in many parts of Western Canada means ranchers will need to act innovatively this summer to avoid problems next year. Importing feed is one option, says Saskatchewan Agriculture specialist Lorne Klein. “There are numerous products out there you can truck in,” he said. “But then it’s a matter of the price.” He said the […] Read more

A drought creates fields with a wide range of nutrient levels so soil testing — up to 16 samples per zone — is recommended to get a clear picture of what inputs may be required.  |  File photo

Managing fertility after a drought

We are all aware of the impact of drought on crop yields, but what is happening in the field goes far beyond faulty plants and can last for several years, even when precipitation returns to otherwise normal levels. Drought causes several soil processes to slow down or virtually stop. The two most pronounced effects of […] Read more

Crops in southwestern Saskatchewan are suffering under intense heat. Temperatures in the mid- to high-30s C last weekend capped off what has been an extremely hot and dry July throughout the southern grain belt. Durum crops are losing yield as they struggle to finish under drought-like conditions. This photo was taken July 28 near Cabri.  |  Brian Cross photo

The big dry

Relentless heat continued to take a toll on crops in western and southern Saskatchewan this week, turning what might have been an above average harvest into one that will be average at best in some areas and below average in others. In southwestern Saskatchewan, daytime temperatures peaked at more than 38 C July 30, capping […] Read more


Heat and drought rewriting 2017 wheat story

(Editor’s note: the print version of the story has incorrect information about the amount of rain in Saskatchewan. The story has been corrected here.) My car thermometer hit 38 C July 16 as I drove an area around Moose Jaw, Sask., although Environment Canada said the official high was 34.9 C. Whatever it was, it […] Read more

Western North Dakota and other parts of the northern Plains are in drought with rainfall in some places 100 to 125 millimetres below normal since March. | File photo

Canola suffers in northern U.S. drought

It’s been incredibly dry in southwestern North Dakota this year. The area is so parched that locals can cite the last time it rained. “Right in our region, around Hettinger … we had our last significant rain in April,” said John Rickertsen, a North Dakota State University extension agronomist in Hettinger, 20 kilometres from the […] Read more