Months after post-tropical storm Dorian hit the province, farmers in PEI are assessing their crop losses for the season.
Together with other producers (beef, hog, dairy, apple, etc.) in the province, farmers are tallying their losses in preparation for federal disaster assistance registration.
“Our yield was half of what it should have been, a lot of people in our area were less than half,” said Randy Drenth, a corn farmer based in Summerfield, PEI.
Drenth told CBC News that not only is losing half his yield not going to help with his bills, farmers like him are still struggling to figure out how they can afford to put the next crop into the ground.
Another corn farmer, Patrick Dunphy, of Valley View Farming Company, estimated that 405 of his 648 hectares were flattened by Dorian.
“Yield was about 75% lower than what we would normally harvest off our corn fields,” Dunphy stated.
Dunphy added that he had harvested every acre to salvage what was left of his crop, but that process involved purchasing specialized equipment. He also noted that the corn harvested post-Dorian was immature and wet, and he had to spend more to dry the crop. In total, it cost him an additional $200 to $300 an acre to harvest the storm-damaged corn, plus an additional $300,000 in unexpected expenses,
To make matters worse, Dunphy noted that the low quality of his corn is making it difficult to sell.
“We did have crop insurance so they’re going to pay us for some of the difference,” he said. “But right now, the test weight is so poor on that corn that we can’t market it to the local mills.”
Dunphy has joined nine other corn growers in PEI who are focused on applying for disaster assistance.
“We’re hoping that the federal government will step in,” the corn grower said. “We can do this AgriRecovery and maybe come out with our shirt at the end of the day, but there’s no guarantees on that.”
CBC News reported that the PEI Federation of Agriculture is working with the provincial government to create a survey that will go out to commodity groups affected by Dorian. Federation executive director Robert Godfrey revealed that the survey should be distributed sometime before the end of January.
“The faster, the better because we want to get this application off to Ottawa,” said Godfrey. “If Ottawa is able to provide the financial assistance we want them to, we want those cheques in the mail as fast as possible.”