Alberta has declared a disaster after a severe drought parched wheat and canola fields.
The province passed an order-in-council on Aug. 19 to allow Alberta’s crop insurer to access additional funds as claims from dry conditions may climb to C$900 million ($675 million) this year, Alberta’s Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier said Tuesday in a telephone interview from Edmonton.
It’s the first time the province has declared an agricultural disaster because of drought since 2009, Carlier said. The dry conditions have had a severe effect on crops in Alberta, Canada’s second-largest grower of wheat and canola, he said.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Carlier said. “I have seen areas that had huge bumper crops last year and now the crop is barely getting past my ankles in the field.”
Canada’s wheat and canola output will fall to the lowest in five years following adverse weather on the prairies, Statistics Canada said in an Aug. 21 report. Many farmers in Alberta and Saskatchewan reported “excessively dry growing conditions,” according to the report.
Yields for most crops in Alberta could be 25 to 30 percent below average, the province’s agriculture ministry said in an Aug. 11 report.