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Tough decisions ahead for P.E.I livestock producers

  • 1.5 min read

Like livestock producers across the rest of the country, producers on Prince Edward Island who use a corn-based ration are looking at increased feed costs this winter.

Forage crops are in tight supply as a cold and wet spring delayed planting.

The impact of post-tropical storm Dorian, which passed through the region in early September bringing wind gusts of over 100 kilometres an hour and dumping over a centimetre of rain, flattened corn fields across the Island, says Robert Godfrey, executive director of the PEI Federation of Agriculture.

Godfrey says even corn that stayed upright sustained wind damage and many harvested cobs showing black areas where the kernels simply stopped growing. Harvest was delayed several weeks, meaning much of the crop was still in the ground when a late September frost arrived, resulting in more quality issues.

Godfrey says many other forage crops are also in tight supply as a cold and wet spring delayed planting.

Harold MacNevin, the chair of the Dairy Farmers of PEI says livestock producers will need to purchase feed this winter.

Amanda Miller of the PEI Cattle Producers says there is also concern among her members.

"The margins in agriculture today are so tight and if you are a livestock producer, feed is your number one cost,” MacNevin says. "If the price is not manageable, there may be some tough decisions that have to be made."

Bottom line

Poor weather conditions just prior to harvest means some Prince Edward Island livestock farmers face decreased feed availability this winter. Producers may need to consider purchasing feed or reducing herd sizes.

In next week’s FCC Express, we’ll look at the forage harvest in other parts of Canada.

Article by:  Andy Walker