Farmers struggling with lack of precipitation

By Hayley Ferguson
July 3, 2019 - 5:28pm Updated: July 3, 2019 - 6:56pm


Medicine Hat, AB - The forecast looks promising for rain here in Medicine Hat.

Nichole Neubauer says that's something she's heard before though.

“I’ve never seen a forecast with more chances of rain, five days away then I have this year. So that rain certainly gives you a little bit of optimism or hope for the future,” She continues.“Unfortunately it’s like we’re in a little bubble and quite often we’re watching those cloud systems form and they split in half and head south or head north.”

Neubauer says that farmers in the area were seeding into dry conditions at the start of the 2019 season with absolutely no moisture in the ground.

“We’ve had such a tremendous amount of drought this is really our third year of substantially decrease levels of precipitation. It’s going to take a fairly significant rain event to bring those sub soil moisture levels up,” she said.

Although Medicine Hat was hit with 42 millimetres of rain and flash flooding last Thursday, it wasn’t helpful to farmers.

Because of how quick the storm was, water wasn’t able to penetrate the surface and make it’s way into the root zone.

The hail also caused quite a bit of damage to the already weaken crops, bruising stems and leafs across the region.

“Like a person, when you’re already run down you are more inclined to get sick.” Neubauer explained. “That’s going to open our plant up for a variety of different fungus and diseases that can ultimately impact the health and viability of the plant.”

Environment Canada meteorologist Blaine Lowry says there is some rain in the forecast for the upcoming weekend. It won’t be the steady soaking rain that farmers are hoping for though.

“Into the weekend it’s not looking like a ton. Maybe five millimetres, ten millimetres over the next three days ago,” Lowry said. “Some models are indicating that Saturday night into Sunday morning, their might be some more appreciable rain. But again I think that would be from thunderstorms or remnant shower activity from in from the south.”

But that rain may be too little too late.

Neubauer says she knows a number of farms who already have been forced to spray their crop out for the year.

Wide load to come through Medicine Hat