Making hay while the sun is shining isn’t easy for Nova Scotia farmers this soggy summer


Farmers in Nova Scotia say rain and humidity have brought an abundance of hay to cut, but that same humidity makes it difficult to extract dry bales from the field.

“Most of us have a pretty good crop this year with all the moisture we’re getting,” said Tim Marsh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and dairy farmer in Poplar Grove, in. Hants County.

“Due to the humidity, we’re limited on dry days to making dry hay. It’s frustrating when you kind of get three-quarters of the time you need, but not the last little bit to finish it off. to dry.”

Marsh said some large producers process hay that is not completely dried. He said it involved fermenting the hay and turning it into a food called silage.

Sun needed

Paul Meagher makes dry hay bales on his farm in Mabou, County Inverness. He said it usually takes about three consecutive days of sunny weather to get the job done.

“Cloudy days [are] not good for drying, ”he said. “You often cut one day, wilt and rake the next, then maybe save later in the day or the next day, ideally. It was difficult to have a few good sunny days. “

Meagher said farmers are lucky to get one cut of field hay per season. The amount of hay harvested will depend on the weather in the coming weeks.

He hopes to get at least 2,000 square bales and plans to sell them off the field to horse and cattle owners for $ 3.25 each.

One thing he has noticed this year is how quickly the fields have grown.

“The grass just isn’t slowing down,” he said. “It’s just steady growth.”

Finding ways to help

Farmers in Atlantic Canada are looking for ways to help their peers in the West who are facing food shortages due to drought and wildfires.

Tim Marsh is president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. (Submitted by Katherine Tuttle)

Marsh said a survey of farmers in Nova Scotia found there were an additional 20,000 bales, large and small, available for sale.

“It’s really just a token amount in the grand scheme of things because of our geographic base,” Marsh said.

“We’re so much smaller than any of the Prairie Provinces, but I know the fact that we’re even watching here is greatly appreciated.

Marsh said it would cost around $ 180 to deliver a round ball to Winnipeg.

“This is a price these producers cannot afford … this is where the federal government has a responsibility to possibly cover the transportation costs.”

Marsh said it is a matter of food sovereignty, or the ability of Canadians to feed Canadians.

He said if western cattle herds were to decline, it would likely translate into higher beef prices in about two years.

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