07/20/2015 02:00 EDT | Updated 07/20/2016 05:59 EDT

Alberta Drought 2015: Another County Declares Disaster

Contrast between barley being grown in rotation with maize, under zero tillage on the flat, and with removal of all crop residues for fodder (left), and barley grown under identical conditions but with retention of all residues (right), on long-term conservation agriculture (CA) trial plot D5 at CIMMYT's headquarters, El Batán, Mexico, In 2009 Mexico suffered a severe drought, with a period of 40 days without rain following planting. The plants grown with residue retention show much greater drought resistance, whereas those without show poor and non-uniform growth. This demonstrates the need to combine all three of the key elements of CA (zero tillage, residue retention, and crop rotation), and the crucial role of residue retention in protecting the soil and retaining moisture. CIMMYT tests a wide range of combinations of CA and conventional practices as part of its long term trials. The results clearly show that integrated CA practices give the highest yields. Barley was planted on D5 instead of wheat in 2009 because very little wheat is grown in the area of central Mexico around El Batán, whereas barley is grown for beer production, so it is of more interest to visiting local farmers. Photo taken on 28 August 2009. Photo credit: CIMMYT.
EDMONTON - Another Alberta community has declared a state of agricultural disaster because of drought.

Sturgeon County north of Edmonton says the dry conditions are hurting the livelihood of farmers.

Last week Parkland County west of the city made a similar declaration and last month McKenzie County in northern Alberta announced a drought disaster.

Communities that make the declaration hope it will lead to financial help from the provincial and federal governments.

Leduc County south of Edmonton is to consider a disaster declaration on Tuesday and other areas in the province facing extremely low soil moisture levels are looking at similar moves.

Sturgeon County Mayor Tom Flynn says low rainfall and hot, dry weather are combining for tough times.

“These severe drought conditions are challenging our local farmers, and by issuing this declaration we hope to increase awareness of these tough conditions producers are facing," he said Monday.

Large swaths of Alberta have experienced low rainfall since April, with many areas receiving well under 40 per cent of normal precipitation.

The drought is affecting cereals, oil seeds and hay for livestock.


What A Drought Looks Like