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Rains and floods in Quebec delay planting

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Staff Writer | May 9, 2017
With Canada’s Quebec region dealing with severe floods and rains and some parts, such as Montreal under a State of Emergency, the produce industry is waiting to see how it’s going to be affected.
Quebec farm
Canada   Severe floods and rains
“We’re not hearing much yet,” says Mike Lavorato with Fruits et Légumes Gaétan Bono Inc., a Montreal-based produce wholesaler. “Growers are just starting to plant so if the rains continue like this, it’ll be a problem.”

Lavorato says it’s likely the growers have done some planting already and employed ground techniques to manage the incoming water. “But now, the fields are too muddy so they probably can’t even go in with the tractors,” he says. “It’s pretty wet.” He adds growers may see a delay come the summer when some products are harvested.

And while it hasn’t been affected by flooding since it’s located high on a sandy hill, Our Little Farm of Lochaber-Partie-Ouest, Que., approximately 150 kilometres east of Montreal, is affected by the rains. “The water table is very high—maybe a foot down,” says James Thompson of Our Little Farm, which grows a variety of organic produce including carrots, tomatoes, onions, greens and more.

“For us, that’s very unusual because we’re on very deep sand over clay.”

The rains mean Our Little Farms is delayed in its plantings this year. “We’re set back about two weeks,” says Thompson. “Our greenhouse is full of plants that need to go out. We should have been planting our first crops at the last week of April and we’re now into the first week of May.” Thompson hopes though to get some plantings into the ground later this week.

“The fields are still draining so as long as we don’t add much more rain, we should be able to get in about mid-week,” he says.

But rain isn’t the only weather affect Quebec farmers such as Thompson are concerned with. “We’re looking at potentially getting frost in our area and that’s a big issue for us,” he says.

He’s noticed as well that his neighbouring farms in the region haven’t done much work in the fields, which he says is abnormal for them.

“It could go as low as -5 this week which is a pretty hard frost. We had a flash frost a few years ago, in the second or third week of May, and it affected us pretty badly.”