With more than 100 mm of rain pounding the district in just 48 hours earlier this week, many district farmers are reporting complete seed washouts.
Purity Seeds owner Larry Lamb said it’s hard to tell what the full extent of the damage might be, but he’s pessimistic.
“It’s kind of hard to tell what’s going to happen,” Lamb said. “We had lots of flooding and it depends how long the ground stays waterlogged so the plants can recover.
“Different plants will recover at different rates. It’ll take a few days to determine whether the plants survive,” he noted yesterday afternoon.
“The crops could be a washout. Hay crops will probably be OK but the alfalfa strands might be hurt depending on how long the water stays on the ground.
“It could be a total or partial wipe-out,” he warned.
But Devlin farmer Shirley Morrish said she believes the rain might not have damaged farms too badly.
“Most of the crops are in. We’ve got lots of low spots but we’re not too bad,” she remarked Tuesday afternoon. “The rain was coming down really hard but the roots will keep them in.”
She was more concerned with her mother, who turns 87 today (Wednesday).
“We went to see her this morning,” Morrish said. “We took our boat and paddles in the back of the truck and edged our way up the road, but she’s doing OK and didn’t want to leave her house.
“The one good thing is this moisture was needed for fires,” she added. “Pastures, crops, and hayfields will grow. Now all we need is a generator, some warm weather, and a big mop.
“We’ve lived through this type of thing before. We survived the tornado, we’ll survive this,” Morrish reasoned.
But Lamb predicted perhaps more than 50 percent of grain crops might have been ruined by the extensive flooding.
“If the rain doesn’t get it, disease from the wet and humidity can. If not the disease, weeds can affect the crops. If not the weeds, the birds can reduce the yield,” he said of the many Canada geese on his crops this week.
Morrish was philosophical—and even found the humour in the situation.
“We’re still getting the last of the stray calves—some of them are trying to swim,” she noted. “But the creeks are going down fast, flowing into the river.
“There’s still time to re-seed and make hay out of it. They don’t call this the Rainy River District for nothing,” she laughed.