McBride farmer David Hruby stands beside a section of his hayfield that didn’t grow to the height it normally would this year because of drought. / SPENCER HALL

By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

Farmers in McBride told The Goat how the drought has affected them and their farms at an October Farmers Institute meeting.

David Hruby said this year he harvested 97 bales of hay instead of the nearly 300 he usually does. He said he didn’t harvest certain patches of his field.

“It’s rough and there’s nothing there. Wasn’t worth my effort in cutting it,” Hruby said.

Another McBride Farmer, Aaron Ford, said crops planted in previously unused ground did well, but his older fields yielded 60 per cent of a normal harvest.

Farmers at the meeting told Dannielle Alan, Area H rep for the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, that they’d be interested in speaking with a hydrologist to learn ways to curb water usage on the farm while retaining soil moisture. Alan suggested collecting rainwater in dugouts as a way of retaining water on farms, adding that water collected from the sky isn’t taxed.

Hruby said he’d be interested in learning more about water conservation on farms, adding because of low flows in nearby creeks, he did very little irrigating this year.

“I couldn’t take all [the water] ” I’d go to jail. So I was working off of a small area where I could actually pull from,” Hruby said.

He added this year was the worst year he’s seen for drought since he moved to McBride in 1980.

“We’ve had low flows a couple of times throughout my history of being here, but never like this, never this low,” Hruby said. “Saving grace for me is I’ve got no animals anymore, cows or anything. I don’t have to worry about watering them.”

Dominion Creek, McBride’s sole source of drinking water, runs through Hruby’s property. He said earlier this fall he was able to cross the creek without getting his feet wet. The creek has since increased in flow, but it remains much lower than it should be this time of year.

Hruby said he’s hoping McBride gets more rain and a snowpack this winter in order to avoid a drought next year. He noted the Village hasn’t had any significant snowstorms in the past three years.

“We are getting rain, as long as we can get a reserve up above that will flow through the winter, that would be nice,” Hruby said.