The outlook for the hay crops for Burns Lake farmers this year is not good, according to a number of reports from farmers in the area.
The string of wet, damp weather lasted well into June this year, longer than normal, and the recent dry, hot and windy weather has led to hay crops not growing as well as they have in the past.
Typically the crops begin to be cut, baled and brought in at the beginning of July and are completely brought in before the fall weather begins, although it is all weather dependant.
This year a number of Burns Lake’s farmers have expressed concerns that their hay crops for the season won’t meet expected targets.
One local farmer said that the hot, dry weather amounted to a significantly lower amount of hay this year, and the Strimbolds estimate that their hay crops are at two-thirds of what is typically harvested each year.
Shannon Piper said that her crops are expected to be at half of what is typically harvested.
“We normally need 400 bales of hay to get through the winter, but this year we are expecting half that amount,” Piper said, “The crops this year are at knee level, in past years they’ve been above our heads.”
The poor season has even led some farmers to not bother with harvesting their crops.
Piper said she talked to one young girl who mentioned that her father wasn’t going to harvest his crops this year, but rather just buy enough hay to get him through the winter.
“Many farmers keep an inventory of leftover crops,” Piper said, “Then they just buy the rest of what they need from a local farmer.”
Most of the hay that is sold by Burns Lake farmers is sold locally with the rest this season being sold to neighbouring communities.
Some farmers purchase hay from farmers in Vanderhoof as well.