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B.C. farmers feeling the heat as their crops and animals took a hit

• Vancouver Sun

An unprecedented heat wave created challenges for B.C. farmers this week, as chicken farmers desperately tried to cool barns to prevent birds from dying, dairy cows gave less milk and raspberry growers watched their crops wither on the vine.

"It's been extremely stressful," said Ray Nickel, a Fraser Valley chicken farmer and director with the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board. "There have been losses because of the extreme heat."

While all B.C. chicken farms are required to have systems to manage barn temperatures, the high heat was "too much to handle" for some birds, particularly large birds that were close to being shipped, he said.

Barns are equipped with fans and different types of cooling systems, such as misters, but to save their flocks some farmers also hired crews to pressure wash the outside of barns with cold water.

Nickel noted that temperatures in June are usually around 23 or 24ºC, with only the hottest days topping 30ºC.