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More than 100 head of animals were swept away after floods in the province of Saskatchewan
Canadian farmers rescue cows from floods after a month’s worth of rain in two days
Canadian farmers have rescued at least 100 dairy cows from a flooded pond in Saskatchewan after a month’s worth of rain in two days.
Saskatchewan is in the midst of one of its worst droughts since the 1950s and has been parched for the past three years.
A farmer walks on flooded farmland near Brandon, Saskatchewan, on Friday. Photograph: David Stobbe/Reuters
But rainstorms that began in mid-March hit the region especially hard, overwhelming a pond about 30 miles north of the city of Brandon. Rushed waterways swept through fields, over levees and wiped out grain and livestock crops, leaving many farmers unable to operate their irrigation systems.
Canada floods: what’s happening in the hardest-hit province of Saskatchewan? Read more
Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister, Lyle Stewart, said his province was seeing “an unprecedented combination of negative factors coming together” that were adding to the severe drought.
Dairy cows wait at a makeshift barn that was built to shelter them after floodwaters damaged crops in Ste-Julie, Saskatchewan. Photograph: David Stobbe/Reuters
Dairy farmer Jim Ginn first noticed something was wrong on Tuesday when he looked up and saw several hundred cows milling around a pond on his property.
“I heard one scream and the next thing I know a hundred cows just sprinted off across Highway 46. So I just kept running after them, trying to get them back into the pasture,” Ginn said.
Farmers in Saskatchewan planted more than 36m acres of corn this year, 13 times the normal amount for the province. Stewart said farmers had to cut back to 6m acres, an 18% reduction, and the rains exacerbated the drought that began in 2015.
Cattle on their way to the waterway where they were stranded in Brandon, Saskatchewan. Photograph: David Stobbe/Reuters
Stewart told Canadian media they had called in the RCMP and members of the band of the Rainy River First Nation in the province were able to figure out that the pond was not part of the main floodway.
“This is a situation where we really don’t have time to take a deep breath,” Stewart said. “There’s so much right now to deal with.