Ag Weather Forum

Dryness and Heat for Prairies

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , Ag Meteorologist Emeritus
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Well over half of the Canadian Prairies crop areas show precipitation deficits of 20% or more below normal since April 1. (AAFC graphic)

Going into midsummer, much of the Canadian Prairies has a notable lack of soil moisture. I like to look at the precipitation percent of normal for a quick analysis -- and it's apparent that at least 60% of the Prairies is more than 15% below normal on precipitation since the start of the growing season on April 1. DTN Canadian grains analyst Cliff Jamieson opined that the below-normal area could probably expanded, "given that a portion of the 85 to 115% area may also land below average," he said in an e-mail.

Going through the Saskatchewan weekly crop report, the condition of the hay crop is perhaps the best indicator of the precipitation deficit. The report does note that "the majority of crops are in good condition and at their normal stage3s of development..." but, that's the situation when it comes to the hay crop. "Hay yields so far are reported to be much lower than average and many pastures are expected to have significantly reduced carrying capacity heading into the summer," the report said.

Looking ahead, my DTN ag meteorology colleague Joel Burgio offers this assessment:

"It appears that some hot weather will make it into the Prairies at times during the next week," he said. "We still see short wave troughs coming through to bring shower threats to the area at times, but it appears these might favor north and east areas. The region did see some good shower activity this week and it is currently cooler, so this is more in the forecast rather than the current situation. I would be somewhat concerned through southwest areas that have been persistently dry this season. Watch the temperature forecasts for the area this week and next."

And, those forecasts are very warm to hot for the region. All but the northwestern sector of the Prairies have high temperatures in the range of 85 to 94 Fahrenheit (29-34 Celsius) during the next five days, and in the low to mid-80s Fahrenheit (26-29 Celsius) for the balance of the next 10 days -- and, mainly with dry conditions. That combination will tax crops and livestock -- including having an effect on the beginning of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo.

Meanwhile, heat already muscled its way to dominance in eastern Canada this first part of July. In the last few days, 33 deaths in the province of Quebec have been reported because of heat-related complications.


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