Recent rainfall has not been enough to replenish soil moisture levels, and ongoing high temperatures are compounding the dry conditions, which prompted Kneehill County council to declare a municipal agricultural disaster during the regular Tuesday, July 25 council meeting.

 Kneehill County is among a growing number of municipalities which have declared municipal states of agricultural disasters; County of Stettler was the first to declare agricultural disaster on June 14, and neighbouring Wheatland County declared its own agricultural disaster on July 5.

 “Moisture conditions have been severely dry across the county, with all of the county experiencing less than one in 100 year dry conditions, according to the provincial soil moisture data,” shared manager of Parks and Agriculture Services, Fallon Sherlock during the meeting.

 Lack of moisture through snow pack levels and precipitation in the spring and early summer has posed problems for crop germination and growth across the county. 

 Ms. Sherlock explained this has resulted in crops maturing faster than expected, but is resulting in lower quality crops. 

 As of the July 11 crop report, about 35.9 per cent of all crops grown in the Central region, which includes Kneehill County, were rated in good to excellent condition. This is well below the five-year average of about 74.9 per cent of all crops rated good to excellent for the region.

 Although there has been some near normal precipitation accumulation over the last month, soil moisture reserves in the Central region continue to remain in the very low to moderately low levels.

 Kneehill County administration have been closely monitoring the situation in the county since its June 19 Agricultural Services Board meeting, and Ms. Sherlock noted they will continue monitoring conditions throughout the remainder of the season.

By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

Original Published on Aug 02, 2023 at 06:00

This item reprinted with permission from   The Drumheller Mail   Drumheller, Alberta
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