Drought sows despair among agricultural producers

The regional presidents of the Union des producteurs agricoles have met urgently encountered Friday to take stock of the dry weather this year across the province.

The soil is dry at Denis Pelletier’s farm this year.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Marie-Christine Rioux

Denis Pelletier, a dairy farmer from Rimouski, has experienced several droughts, but this year the situation is becoming critical. He even has to fetch water to water his cows.

Mr. Pelletier, who produces part of his hay, normally buys the rest of the forage he needs from his neighbors. This summer, the harvest is catastrophic and its neighbors have no surplus to sell. A situation which is generalized in the province.

It’s really tough on finances, then it’s tough on morale too.

Denis Pelletier, dairy producer

It is in our genes to sell animals, it is normal. But when you think you have to sell them all, that hurts a bit more, laments the producer.

Explosion in the price of hay

Hay bales are currently being sold at very high prices. An unlivable situation for producers, explains Gilbert Marquis, president of the Federation of the Union of agricultural producers (UPA) of Bas-Saint-Laurent.

A bale of hay currently sells for $ 70 to $ 120. Faque it’s not profitable, buy it at that price, indicates Gilbert Marquis.

The president of the Union des producteurs du Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gilbert Marquis, in front of a farm building.

The president of the Bas-Saint-Laurent UPA, Gilbert Marquis (archives)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Gaston Beaulieu

There may be hay elsewhere for sale, but it’s going to be very expensive and I don’t think the price will go down. Because, when it’s a vital need, what does it do? Well if you want hay, you will pay for, says Mr. Marquis.

According to Environment Canada, the showers are very scattered this summer in the region and temperatures are above average throughout Quebec, which worsens the dry weather.

The federation ofUPA du Bas-Saint-Laurent hopes that an advance will be paid to producers by the Financière agricole in the coming days.

With information from Marie-Christine Rioux

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