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Saturday, July 31, 2021
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Dryland crops in southern Alberta hit hard by summer drought & insects

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LETHBRIDGE, AB – A serious lack of rainfall over the past few months continues to have a major impact on local agriculture producers.

Dryland crops in southern Alberta have taken a beating from not just the dry conditions, but the extreme heat and now issues with grasshoppers in some places.

Ken Coles with Farming Smarter in Lethbridge County says this has been a bad drought year.

“In some areas it’s actually been complete crop failure,” says Coles. “You don’t get worse than that. It hasn’t been the greatest going here, at least in southern Alberta. The extent of the heat we’ve had this year and lack of precipitation has been sort of above and beyond.”

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Coles says for some dryland farmers in the region, conditions haven’t been this bad in almost 20 years.

Meanwhile, the other problem is insects, especially grasshoppers as mentioned. Coles says many folks were concerned grasshoppers would become an issue given the summer we’ve been having.

“The dry, hot weather is actually something that helps trigger a population explosion and we’ve certainly seen that this year. The problem is that the infestation is so bad, but the crops (some dryland) aren’t necessarily worth saving,” said Coles.

To put things into perspective, the Lethbridge region has recorded just 25 mm of total precipitation since June 1st, a fraction of what is normal. A typical June to mid-July precipitation cycle would see about 125 mm.

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Coles stresses that with exception of last summer, we’ve really bee in a drought cycle in southern Alberta for the last five years.

Photo credit to Ken Coles of Farming Smarter.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of New Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

On a personal note, Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and funeral assistant since 2016.

Pat is engaged to Tarah and he has two kids and two step-children.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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