Bad weather pushes Manitoba farmers to ‘breaking point’, says Gimli mayor

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Yet another Colorado low and a few more days of wet and stormy weather were predicted for southern Manitoba on Monday, and it has a local leader wondering how much bad news and bad weather Manitoba farmers will be able to handle this spring.

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“Farmers just can’t get out in their fields because they’re soaked,” Rural Municipality of Gimli Mayor Lynn Greenberg said Monday morning as Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for parts of the country. from southern Manitoba, warning that parts of the province could expect significant precipitation on Monday and Tuesday, with a possibility between 30 and 50 millimeters in some areas.

“It’s not good, because it’s already quite late in the season, and they should have finished sowing by now, or at least be about to.”

In the RM of Gimli, which includes the town of Gimli and surrounding rural areas, Greenberg said he was starting to hear that some farmers were reaching a point where they didn’t know how much of their growing season could be salvaged, at because of how saturated the ground continues to be, and now because of Monday’s forecast.

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He said while there have been sunny days in southern Manitoba recently, he has yet to see consistent warm sunny weather, which he says is needed to dry out saturated farmers’ fields. .

A saturated farmer's field is seen near Île Des Chênes, south of Winnipeg, Monday.  With more wet weather predicted for southern Manitoba on Monday and Tuesday, some are concerned about when farmers will be able to get their crops in the ground this growing season.
A saturated farmer’s field is seen near Île Des Chênes, south of Winnipeg, Monday. With more wet weather predicted for southern Manitoba on Monday and Tuesday, some are concerned about when farmers will be able to get their crops in the ground this growing season. Photo by Dave Baxter /Winnipeg Sun/Local Journalism Initiative

“Even when we didn’t have any rain there for a few days, it was still colder than usual and wet for this time of year, so we didn’t have that strong sun just for everything. dry,” he said.

Greenberg said when he saw what was now scheduled for the start of this week, he thought it would be “yet another blow” to farmers just trying to get their crops into the ground this growing season, and he said things could come to a “breaking point” for some southern Manitoba farmers if the weather doesn’t warm up and fields dry out quickly.

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And the mayor says he’s never seen such a wet spring, and that in addition to the amount of snow southern Manitoba has received over the winter, many farmers tell him it’s more than their fields had ever been so saturated, at this time of the year.

“It’s just not good everywhere,” Greenberg said.

A saturated farmer's field is seen near Île Des Chênes, south of Winnipeg, Monday.  With more wet weather predicted for southern Manitoba on Monday and Tuesday, some are concerned about when farmers will be able to get their crops in the ground this growing season.
A saturated farmer’s field is seen near Île Des Chênes, south of Winnipeg, Monday. With more wet weather predicted for southern Manitoba on Monday and Tuesday, some are concerned about when farmers will be able to get their crops in the ground this growing season. Photo by Dave Baxter /Winnipeg Sun/Local Journalism Initiative

This spring will now be one of the wettest on record in southern Manitoba, thanks to a series of recent rains and snowstorms and the Colorado Low weather episodes. As of Monday, it was reported that it is now the second wettest weather spring on record in Winnipeg since record keeping began in 1872, and the wettest since 1896, when 325 millimeters of precipitation fell between March 1 and May 31.

As of Monday morning, Winnipeg had already recorded about 241 millimeters of precipitation since March 1.

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This spring’s wet weather also comes just a year after many southern Manitoba farmers struggled to get crops out of the ground, rather than in, due to record-breaking drought across much of southern part of the province during the last growing season.

“They just went from one extreme to the other,” Greenberg said. “Everything has gotten worse for farmers over the past two years.”

Dry and sunny conditions were predicted for southern Manitoba by Wednesday, but temperatures are still expected to be cooler than normal for the rest of the week as daytime highs for the rest of this week are expected to be between mid and upper teens, while the average high for this time of year is 21 C.

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter with the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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