Hot summer created challenges for west coast farmers

An unusually hot mid-summer proved difficult for farmers in Newfoundland. But the province eventually reported higher than average vegetable yields.

Kyle Brookings

Pepper succumbs to extreme heat.
This pepper was one of many that withered on the vine this year in Corner Brook. Kyle Brookings/Kicker


Dry weather created challenges for western Newfoundland farmers in the middle of this summer, but crops later rebounded.

This past summer was hot in western Newfoundland. Corner Brook recorded temperatures above 30 C on five days this year and above 25 C on 28 days.

According to data from Environment and Climate Change Canada, the average temperature for July is 22 C and 21.6 C in August. Temperatures were far above normal this year.

It was also a very dry summer. In June, only 87 millimetres of rain fell. July was exceptionally dry with only 34 millimetres, while in August 126.4 millimetres of rain fell.

“This year it was a long stretch with no rain and high temperatures,” said Tammy Sandor Howell, the owner of Howell’s Farm in Norris Point.

Howell lost the majority of her onions, and some of her carrots were scorched. She also lost some cucumber and cucamelon plants as well as some cabbage.

Melvin Rideout, the manager of Rideout’s Farm Inc. in Deer Lake, said there was damage to crops this year, but it was minimal.

According to the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, there are 30 farms located on the west coast of the province. There are 400 different farms in the province.

Farmers from across the province are reporting above-average vegetable yields, said Linda Skinner, a spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture.

However, said Skinner, a lack of rain did have an impact.

“Excessively dry conditions in some areas of the province – particularly the Wooddale region of central Newfoundland – did delay growth of some crops mid-summer; however, these areas did recover later in the season through irrigation practices or natural rainfall.”

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