When Westman farmers wished for rain earlier this year, they likely didn’t have weather like this in mind.
After a second consecutive dry summer, Mother Nature has turned around and delivered one of the wettest months on record.
The 176.7 millimetres of rain that fell on Brandon up to Sept. 29 made for the wettest September on record, said Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.
It rained again on Monday, further increasing that total.
"The system that is giving us the rain and drizzle right now should be out of the area by (Tuesday), but we’ll see a few smaller systems go through and possibly a larger one in the week," Hasell said.
Going back through meteorological records to 1941 shows that last month was also the eighth wettest month in that time frame. If more than one millimetre of rain fell on Monday, it will have been the seventh wettest month on record.
Hasell warned that nighttime temperatures will likely dip below 0 C in the coming days. A combination of wet roads and frost could result in some icy roads during mornings, though Hasell said that it is unlikely.
Local producers who haven’t yet harvested all their crops are hoping for some dry days so they can finish the process.
One of those producers is Keystone Agricultural Producers president Bill Campbell, whose own crops have yet to all be harvested.
"It’s just compounding the problem," Campbell said about the rain’s impact. We’re really going to see struggles to travel on the field. We’ve got saturated crops, which has magnified the problems and challenges that were presented last week."
Further frustration for Campbell was hail last Tuesday and Wednesday, which he said damaged up to 30 per cent of his canola crops.
"We still have oats laying in the swath that I have yet to figure out what I’m going to do with," he said.
Ron Krahn, a farmer in Rivers and a director on the board of Manitoba Canola Growers, told the Sun that the rain over the last seven to eight weeks has been "a real problem."
"The rains keep coming every couple days and it always takes a couple days for a crop to dry down after a rain," Krahn said. "It seems like we get a couple decent days of drying and then the crops are almost ready to harvest and then it rains again."
He estimates that his farm has received 241 millimetres of rain during the harvest season. Luckily, Krahn harvested most of his wheat a couple of weeks ago, but any left in his fields will likely be downgraded in quality due to sprouting.
The farmer still has canola, soybeans, corn and sunflowers left to harvest. "I think the whole farming community would quite enjoy a couple weeks of good weather to get harvesting," he said.
Luckily, Krahn said that his crops haven’t been affected by the temperature going below zero in recent nights.
Livestock producers are set to receive some relief from the provincial government to help mitigate some of their current struggles.
Among other measures to help livestock producers announced on Monday, Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler is requesting that the Manitoba Agricultural Services corporation defer loan payments for six months for direct loans, with the chance that there will be a further deferral of six months to a year depending on uptake.
MASC will also be offering producers the opportunity to take out loans to pay for the purchase of calves, repayable either once the animal is re-sold or after 18 months, whichever comes first.
Loans will also be offered for the purchase of breeding stock, like bred heifers.
Additionally, Eichler said that he has federal approval to raise the AgriStability initial payment from the current 50 per cent to 75 per cent. This payment is a cash advance on expected AgriStability benefits for the calendar year.
A review of agri-insurance programs has been ordered to make sure the program is meeting needs.
When asked if relief would be coming to crop producers, Eichler pointed to existing crop insurance programs and the federal AgriInvest program.
In a statement, Manitoba Beef Producers general manager Carson Callum told the Sun that it is "useful" that the provincial government is reviewing these programs to make sure they are needing producers’ needs.
Callum also said that his organization will continue to discuss the impact of this year’s dry weather on Manitoba’s beef industry with the provincial government.
» Twitter: @ColinSlark
Here is a list of the five wettest months on record:
June 2014: 251.6 mm
August 1980: 217.3 mm
June 2005: 216.2 mm
May 1999: 201 mm
June 1954: 185.7 mm
Here are the five wettest Septembers on record:
2019: 176.7 mm
1941: 111.3 mm
1973: 108.5 mm
1959: 104.9 mm
1965: 101.3 mm