Ag Weather Forum

Western Prairies Catch Heat

Joel Burgio
By  Joel Burgio , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Southern Alberta has had the least amount of rain, along with hottest temperatures during the first two weeks of July. (AAFC graphic)

Key growing areas of the Canadian Prairies crop belt have received much needed rainfall during the past couple of weeks. However, many western areas have not. Driest areas during the past couple of weeks have also been among the hottest. Southern Alberta has had the least amount of rainfall during this period, while also being the hottest. Highest during the past seven days in the area reached 33 to above 36 Celsius (91-97 Fahrenheit), although it has turned cooler during the past couple of days. A couple of other areas that were on the lower end of the rainfall range during this time frame included: in Alberta, near and east of Edmonton; and in Saskatchewan, the Regina area. Temperatures near Edmonton topped out at only 28 to 31 C (82-88 F) during this period, while near Regina readings reached to a 31 to 33 C range (88-91 Fahrenheit).

The balance of the Canadian Prairies region has received moderate and locally heavy rains during the past two weeks. This will maintain favorable conditions for some areas, while improving conditions for a few locations. Rains received have maintained favorable growing conditions in the Peace River area of Alberta and in northern Saskatchewan. Rainfall received has improved conditions in much of the Manitoba area and parts of southwest Saskatchewan. Crops across the region have continued to advance under the recent warm to hot spell, and in most cases are near normal for the date. Some areas forced by dryness and heat have likely advanced ahead of normal development.

In general, crops have improved due to the rainfall received in some previously-dry locations. However, more rain will be needed to continue this improvement and to help any areas that are still too dry. The chances for significant rainfall, amounts in excess of 10 mm (about 0.50 inch), during the next week appear fairly limited. The three areas of the Prairies mentioned earlier that were on the lower end of the rainfall received during the past two weeks each have some chance for rainfall in the range of 6-13 mm (0.25-0.50 inches) during this period; however, more than that would be needed to improve conditions. An area of southwest Saskatchewan that had some beneficial rains during the two week period is not likely to get needed additional rainfall during the forecast period. Temperatures during this period look to be warmest in the eastern areas, while in the west a more seasonal temperature pattern is expected.

Crops areas that have received needed rainfall during the past couple of weeks should benefit from the forecast rainfall, especially as temperatures do not appear to be very hot. Crops grown in the areas that missed the heavier rains will likely suffer once this moisture runs out. In general, subsoil moisture remains short in many areas, even with recent rains. This likely means additional rainfall will be needed to maintain topsoil moisture during the coming weeks.


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