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Manitoba farmers plagued by record-breaking autumn rain, with snow about to fall

Global News logo Global News 5 days ago Malika Karim
a close up of a dry grass field: Farmers' field in Morris, Manitoba following record breaking rainfall numbers this season. © Rolf Penner Farmers' field in Morris, Manitoba following record breaking rainfall numbers this season.

It went from a drought to a flood, and now Manitoba farmers are struggling under a record-breaking rainfall with more precipitation on the way.

"We have had a lot of rain, and I know the reports have been record amounts," said Morris Man. farmer Rolf Penner.

"In my farming life I'm not sure if I've had a fall quite like this one."

Penner produces oats, wheat, canola and soy beans, and although the excess Fall moisture has been challenging, he says the whole year has been a bit bizarre.

"Every year is unique, but to go from the two extremes this year from dry drought like conditions in the spring to being super saturated here in the fall where we just can't get anything done over a long period of time, has been new and quite frustrating," Penner said.

READ MORE: Zhoda, Man. residents still fighting flood waters, looking for answers from municipality

Farmers have been subjected to playing the waiting game and hoping for some warmer, drier weather in order to harvest their product.

"We have very, very heavy machinery, we've got big tires on them as much as we can, but really, you wind up trying to shave the ground and the machinery doesn't work very well when conditions are ... muddy," Penner added.

The forecast for the week doesn't show precipitation letting up anytime soon. On Monday Global News Weather Anchor Mike Koncan predicted snow will soon hit the ground.

"For Winnipeg, as of Monday models show a range from around 5 cm to as much as 20 cm (of snow) by the weekend," Koncan reported.

Penner said he was able to harvest his oats and canola, but had to dry the product manually. The majority of his wheat and all of his soy beans are still out in the field. The excess water is affecting the cost of return.

"Definitely you'll take a hit on quality and that affects your price," Penner said. "It won't be as high a quality of crop as has been in the past. When you're fighting with it and you're in the mud, you're not getting as many bushels into the combine and into the bins as you would if conditions were ideal."

READ MORE: ‘It’s ugly’: Late summer rains hit Manitoba agricultural producers hard

The hiatus in production due to excess water also means delays in field work. Farmers can't work on getting their fields ready for next year, said Penner.

Keystone Agricultural Producers President Bill Campbell told 680CJOB recently that the weather has left flooded fields everywhere.

“It’s ugly, there’s no other nice way of putting it,” he said.

“We’ve seen bales in water, I’ve seen swathes in water, I’ve seen standing crop in water — getting across these fields is going to be a challenge.”

Campbell said less than half of the province’s roughly 10 million acres of farmland had been harvested before the end of September.

"Some guys have worked their fields a little bit, but the growth is so thick now," Penner added.

"You always have a certain amount of weeds that fall into your crop after you harvest and some of those fields are turning to sod and really need to get worked again, and there's no way we can get in."

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