Despite some periods of heavy rainfall within the past week, ranchers in the Peace River region have been suffering through a relatively dry summer.
The drought-like conditions are affecting both crop yields and the areas from where the ranchers purchase extra feed, says Elaine Stovin, communications director for the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association.
Stovin says that community pastures used by ranchers will probably dry out more quickly and affect ranchers’ ability to allow their cattle to use the fields, which in turn affects ranchers’ revenue.
There are some options for ranchers who reside in areas stricken by drought, including a one-year tax deferral from the revenue that a rancher would receive from selling more animals than anticipated because of the drought.
However, Stovin adds that even though ranchers have this option, they are selling more animals earlier than expected and usually at lower weights, since they may not have enough feed to keep a normal number of animals.
She says that another problem facing cattle ranchers is grasshoppers, which tend to flourish during drought conditions.
According to Environment Canada, the climate norm for Fort St. John is 251.2 mm of precipitation from May to August. Since May, the area has only received 100.5mm.