Ag Weather Forum

No Prairies Drought This Year

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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Very scattered sections of northern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and south-central Manitoba are the only locales across the Canadian Prairies with below-average precipitation in the 2016 crop year. (AAFC graphic by Nick Scalise)

A look at June 25-August 23, 2016, precipitation totals relative to average in the Canadian Prairies commands a double-take. This time frame, which basically takes in July and August, has some almost unheard-of totals versus average.

Check these departures from average out: southern Alberta, from 80 to more than 120 millimeters above average. The conversion from millimeters to inches is 25 mm equals 1 inch -- so we are talking about 3 to probably 5 inches or more above average in a two-month period. And, in western and central Saskatchewan it's the same thing. Much of western Saskatchewan has taken in more than 120 mm, or more than 5 inches, above average. Eastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba -- same thing. The rest of Manitoba, southern and northwestern Saskatchewan, and central Alberta have departures generally of 20-60 mm or about 1-2.5 inches above average.

In fact, you have to look very closely to find areas where precipitation was below normal this season. Northern Alberta (Peace River), southeastern Saskatchewan and south-central Manitoba pretty much take it when it comes to dryness in western Canada.

The next seven days still feature an active pattern -- maybe not as wet as the wettest portions of the Prairies, but still with at least light precipitation. Moderate to heavy totals are indicated for western and northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan, with light totals elsewhere. But, going into a usually-active time of the year for harvest, even light moisture can be an issue.

The summary line from this week's Saskatchewan crop report summed things up very well:

"The majority of crop damage this past week was caused by excess moisture, strong winds, lodging and diseases such as fusarium head blight, sclerotinia and mould. Many fields remain soft and field access will be an issue in some areas."

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

Twitter @BAndersonDTN



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