“The hills look like sawdust, really, that colour,” he said from his ranch, a short drive from Elnora, Alta. “I've never seen it where the grass didn't turn green in the spring before.”
He normally turns his 50 cow-calf pairs loose to graze in the first week of May. This year, he's still feeding them what hay he can find – much of it poor quality, all of it expensive. It costs him more than twice as much to feed hay as to rent grazing land.
Farmers and ranchers across a vast section of Alberta and Saskatchewan are staring down the same ominous fields of parched soil and brown crops.