Weather woes and road closures continue to plague BC farmers, who entered the new year facing disruptions due to snow and ice.
Arctic inflows sent temperatures across BC plummeting to record lows at the end of December, just six months after the province shattered high temperature records. Growers in the Lower Mainland still reeling from the effects of November’s atmospheric rivers found themselves struggling for a firm footing.
A notice to producers from the BC Milk Marketing Board on December 27 underscored the ongoing challenges, “once again asking for producers’ patience and understanding as we face more challenges in our ability to either pickup or have all milk processed.”
The disruptions resulted in some farms being asked to dispose of milk even as many struggled to keep equipment working in extreme cold.
The note also highlighted how weather can mesh negatively with market conditions to deepen temporary challenges.
The cold snap came at a time that typically sees lower demand from processors following stronger activity in the run-up to Christmas and New Year’s. However, the market in BC was still finding its feet following the disruptions caused by flooding.
Trade deals that have affected the domestic milk market.
“Due to market changes and trade deals such as CUSMA the ability for a PLR to process (and sell) all milk is extremely challenged,” the BC Milk explained. “Until we can significantly increase milk processing capacity, we will have to manage the milk supply very closely, with periods where processors are slightly short of their requirements and other periods where all milk won’t be processed.”
Producers in the horticulture sectors are also paying attention to the weather. The extreme cold may have damaged some plants, both in the Okanagan and the Fraser Valley, where flooding washed away growers efforts to prepare plants for winter.