Hot and dry weather has Quebec farmers making tough decisions

Some Quebec farmers are scrambling as unseasonably dry weather has led to an unusually early harvest this year.

“All the farmers are coming at once with such volume to the markets,” said Rougemont farmer Philippe Beauregard, noting that many locally-grown strawberries are noticeably smaller than usual.

Not that it makes them worse – he pointed out their small size is compensated for by being extra sweet.

However, while hot and dry weather has been good for fans of berries, Beauregard said it hasn't been great for his bottom line. Normally, watering trucks are used to supplement natural rainfall, but with little rain over the past few months, the crops have been totally dependent on manual watering.

“Watering is a big problem on farms. There's a limited water supply, (and we're) using water earlier than normal.”

That means only some of Beauregard's crops will survive.

“Let's say beans, let them die and focus on main crops like pumpkins,” he said.

Sylvain Charlebois, an agricultural expert and professor at Dalhouse University, said farmers across the country are battling drought conditions.

“Water is an issue across the continent, not just in Quebec but across the prairies and there's issues in British Columbia as well,” he said.  

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