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Manitoba producers struggle as weather woes hit farms, large and small

The past few summers in Manitoba have brought extremely hot temperatures and dry spells but this year Mother Nature has switched things up.

Marilyn Firth is part owner of Almost Urban Vegetables, a 10-acre family farm in St. Norbert. In her area with more clay-based soil, she says the wet spring has made things challenging.

“In a dry year, it’s great because it holds the moisture but in a wet year like this it just doesn’t let the moisture go away and so we’re sort of struggling with digging ditches and trying to get the water out as much as we can but it is very hard on the plants,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Record rain feeding into soggy start to Manitoba summer'

Record rain feeding into soggy start to Manitoba summer

Additionally, Firth says the wet, cool temperatures have introduced some access issues. “We do weed by hand on our farm, we do have a tractor and we do some tractor work but not for weeding – but I mean even our little tractor is sinking in the mud so I imagine the big folks are having a tough time too.”

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However, Jill Verwey, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers, says the rain has been helpful to cattle producers when it comes to feed but it is a two-sided coin.

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“Over the last couple of years, we have had a decrease in moisture and pastures – so hopefully we can see a rebound there,” she said.

As for the hot temperatures returning, Verwey says cattle are resilient in the heat, as long as there’s plenty of pasture for them to graze on.

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