Farmers in Western Canada are struggling to understand the news that two cows and one bull died as a result of consuming treated canola seed that was illegally dumped in a pasture.
Bill Laing, a farmer from near Harris, SK, was shocked to find a dead cow on his pasture last week. It’s never easy to find a deceased animal, but what was even more alarming was that it wasn’t just one.
Not far away, Laing spotted another cow. After further exploration, he found a third dead animal (a bull), and a large pile of treated canola seed, which had been dumped near a gate entering the pasture.
In a call with RealAgriculture, Laing said the dump was illegal, and, besides the roughly $9000 in immediate animal losses, he may see further ramifications in the future.
According to Laing, a veterinarian verified the cause of death to be a result of the animals consuming treated canola seed, and that they might expect further complications, such as abortions and liver failure in other animals who may have consumed the material.
Laing estimated the amount of canola seed to be roughly 15-20 bushels.
Based on Saskatchewan Agriculture’s estimated canola seed cost of $13.13/lb in 2017 (and assuming a bushel weight of 50lbs/bu for canola), the dumped seed could have been worth $9,000 to $13,000.
Bayer CropScience has offered to help with the cleanup, and Rosetown RCMP is investigating the file.
The event occurred northeast of Rosetown, SK.