Rain causing many problems in Sask

By Ryan Pilon
June 21, 2011 - 4:31pm Updated: June 22, 2011 - 6:46am

Farmers just can’t seem to catch a break.

After heavy moisture caused seeding to be late this year, farmers are now facing flooded and damaged crops due to the recent heavy rain.

Kerry Peterson, who farms near Shellbrook, said they received five inches of rain in the past week and about 15 per cent of his crop is under water.

“I’d say this 15 per cent is going to be beyond repair. It’s laying water and I’d think your crop’s got, at the most, a couple of days that it’d be able to deal with that providing it’s soaked away. I think because of the amount of rain now, it’s not going to be able to soak away,” he said.

“It’s an expensive industry. I mean, there’s a lot of money in the ground. Guys are looking at $200 to $250 an acre investment, and when you lose 15 per cent of it, yeah, it’s frustrating. But Mother Nature is Mother Nature and you just deal with it.”

As for the rest of his crop, Peterson said it can only take so much rain and it needs warm and sunny weather.

This is the second year in a row where crops have been affected by heavy rains. Peterson said he’s never seen anything like this.

“I talked to some of my neighbours who have been farming in the area for generations, and they haven’t (seen anything like this) either,” Peterson said.

“It’s kind of new, but I think Saskatchewan weather is unpredictable at best.”

 Anthrax 

The heavy rain doesn’t just cause concern for farmers over their crop, but their livestock as well.

The extreme weather increases the risk of livestock becoming infected by anthrax, a lethal disease that can affect humans and animals and usually is found in soil.

“Any time we have soil disturbances, whether it’s from rain, or wind, or erosion of any kind, that could potentially bring spores to the surface, and increase the contact between the spores and animals, we do have more concern,” said Dr. Betty Althouse, a veterinarian program specialist with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The best precaution for anthrax is for the animals to receive a vaccination, she said.

Some other precautions to take are to keep the animals off of pastures where evidence of anthrax has been before and to not feed livestock hay that is contaminated by soil.

Althouse said symptoms of anthrax can be high temperatures, labored breathing, and swelling. If an animal dies from the disease, there is evidence of it being caused by anthrax as well.

“Carcasses may have blood from various body openings, and they may not stiffen and go into rigor mortis as quickly as you might expect. So if you have carcasses with those types of signs, you may want to contact a veterinarian,” said Althouse.

Althouse said while there have been a number of suspect cases of anthrax this year, none have been confirmed.

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