Friday, May 13, 2011

Manitoba ranchers move cattle as floodwaters rise

Rod Nickel in Reuters: Manitoba ranchers scrambled to move cattle to higher ground on Friday as efforts to contain record flooding on the Assiniboine River funneled high water into a major livestock region. Across Manitoba, 3,200 people have left their homes because of flooding, including 1,300 in Brandon, the province's second-largest city.

To contain flooding along the Assiniboine, Manitoba is forcing about one-third more water than normal capacity through a the Portage Diversion, an engineered channel that has been fortified to carry the extra flow, and divert it into Lake Manitoba. That move has eased pressure on dikes, but is swamping pasture around the lake and forcing ranchers to move cattle -- some likely as far as the neighboring province of Saskatchewan.

Some ranchers have estimated they may need to move up to 100,000 cattle, or about 9 percent of Manitoba's herd. The provincial government has declared the situation a "livestock emergency" and estimated the number of cattle to move in the thousands…

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