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'The crops just stopped growing': Southern Alberta farmers say this could be worst season in 20 years

Reference: CTV News

CALGARY -- Raymond, Alta. farmer John McKee says his dryland crops look pretty good from the road but up close, you get a much different picture.

“We have some canola that didn’t even bolt. It just stopped.” said McKee. “The leaves turned upside down, shielding themselves from the sun.”

McKee says the crops need rain but even if they get moisture now, it will be too late to increase yields much.

“The damage has been done,” he said.

According to the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, prolonged periods of heat with little moisture are taking a toll on crops in several areas of the province.

If these severe growing conditions continue, some producers may put their crops to alternate uses rather than waiting for them to mature.

“I think this will be the worst crop in Western Canada in the last 20 years,” said Stephen Vandervalk, Alberta vice-president for the Western Canadian Wheat Growers.

Vandervalk has both dryland and irrigation crops on his farm about nine kilometres north of Fort Macleod.

“My farm personally, on my north half, will be the worst crop we’ve had in the history of our farm," he said.

Vandervalk says he wasn’t farming during the drought years in the early 1980s, but he would have to go back to 2001 to find a crop that is as bad as the one he has now.

He says he's been talking to other producers in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and most of them are in a similar situation.

“I know prices are up, but prices won’t offset going from 50 bushel canola down to five bushel canola,” said Vandervalk... Read More