July 19 (UPI) — Farmers in Canada are reporting massive crop damage from an ongoing a heat wave affecting much of the country.
To offset the damage, Saskatchewan authorities have allowed increased irrigation subsidies and allowed for damaged crops to be converted into livestock feed.
“When crops are severely damaged and the appraised yield falls below an established threshold level, the yield is reduced to zero,” the province said in a press release.
In British Columbia fruit has reportedly been cooked on the branch. “It seems like somebody took a blowtorch to it and just singed it,” an orchardist told the CBC.
The B.C. Fruit Growers Association reported 50% to 70% of cherry crops were damaged in addition to a lower rate of damage for apples, apricots and other fruits.
“The overall financial impact is going to be great on the farmers,” Pinder Dhaliwal, president of the organization, said.
The cherry crop was shaping up to be one of the best prior to the heat wave.
“It’s just so discouraging to see that this heat wave came in and literally cooked a lot of the cherries,” Sukhpal Bal, a fruit farmer and president of the B.C. Cherry Association, told the CBC. “It’s not pretty, it’s not something that can be marketable by the time we get to harvest these cherries.”
Raspberries and blueberries have also been damaged in the Fraser Valley region.
Damaged fruits will be converted into juices. Grapes have been largely unscathed by heat.
In late June, the heat wave was at its hottest, setting 59 records across the region with temperatures of plus 121 degrees Fahrenheit claiming the lives of hundreds.
Wildfires have also broken out across the region in what experts are saying is a clear sign of climate change.