Long winter, spring floods take toll on agriculture

A winter of heavy snow followed by spring flooding is taking a toll on Saskatchewan's agriculture sector.

One Radisson-area farmer is worried flood waters there will delay spring seeding.

Laura Reiter said Tuesday, in normal years, they would already be working fields at this time.

Instead, she said, it could be another month before they can start seeding.

As well, many crucial rural roads will need repairs before farm machinery can use them.

"Trying to get equipment from field to field or supply trucks or grain trucks hauling fertilizer and things are going to be a problem," Reiter said.

Officials expect flood waters to start rising again this week, as temperatures increase.

Reiter said some people in rural Saskatchewan also lose vital links to supplies, when roads are flooded out.

However, she added, most can get by.

"As long as the power stays on, most of us can hang on for a number of days," she said. "We've got pantries that are full and freezers that have food. I mean you run out of milk and you run out of vegetables, you can still manage."

Meanwhile, near Landis, Sask., people with cattle operations are also anxious about the cold and wet spring weather.

In some cases, cows can't be moved to pastures because the fields are too wet. It means producers face an added expense of providing feed and nutrients for their animals.

Depending on how long that is needed, it can add tens of thousands of dollars in costs.

"The cows aren't going to get out to pasture," Marilyn Braithwaite, a cattle producer in the Landis area, said. "It means holding back [and] feeding them."

Braithwaite said her operation is not too far behind, but added "it's got to warm up."

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