Ag Weather Forum

Cold to Improve Prairies Harvest

Joel Burgio
By  Joel Burgio , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Rain and snow that flattened this crop near Mayfair, Saskatchewan have caused numerous harvest interruptions in the Canadian Prairies. (DTN photo by Elaine Shein)

The weather pattern across the Canadian Prairies during the past few weeks has featured periods of moderate precipitation, occurring as rain and in some cases snow. Precipitation totals for the two-week period have averaged 1.5 to 2 inches and locally heavier over parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Wet weather has slowed harvest progress in some of these locations significantly during the period. We have also noted that snow has, in some cases, caused crop lodging that will likely make it more difficult to harvest crops that have been knocked down by snow and locally heavy rains. This is likely more of a concern for wheat than it would be for canola.

Temperatures have averaged below to well below normal during the past couple of weeks. This slowed drying out of fields. However, snow has likely melted since daytime temperatures are still above the freezing level.

The Prairies can expect to see more high pressure than low pressure during the next five to seven days. The weather pattern that developed to allow recent cold outbreaks looks to intensify somewhat during this period. This will likely push the chance for precipitation south and west of the region. High pressure building from the northwest will lead to drier conditions, but also some fairly low temperatures. This cold weather may see readings dip into the teens Fahrenheit in some northern and a few central crop areas.

The cold, dry weather that is currently being forecast should allow improved conditions for the delayed harvest during the next seven days. First, because it is drier; and second, because it may firm the ground somewhat. There is some question beyond that period as to whether this dry pattern would continue.

Forecast models suggest that coldest weather might shift eastward later in the 10-day period. This would allow warmer weather in the region. The question then becomes whether or not this warming would be accompanied by increased precipitation in the area. At this point, this is uncertain.

Joel Burgio can be reached at



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