Ag Weather Forum

Dry Trend to Challenge Prairies Crops

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , Ag Meteorologist Emeritus
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DTN's early August Canadian Prairies forecast precipitation map suggests the northwestern crop areas have heavy amounts ahead, while amounts in southern and central sectors will be much lighter. (DTN chart)

The past month and a half has been a good one for most Canadian Prairies crops. Using Saskatchewan as an example, the province's crops have a general rating of fair-to-good condition, slightly better than the poor-to-fair description shown in past weeks. Crop conditions vary widely, all the way from poor to excellent; still, the bi-weekly condition ratings since mid-June have shown continuous improvement. Also, the condition ratings are higher in late July/early August than the last time that conditions were reported two weeks ago.

However, the region is turning drier. The Saskatchewan topsoil moisture ratings have 22% of the province in the short- to very-short category, the poorest rating in six weeks. That's still much better than the 61% short- to very-short total reported at this time a year ago.

The forecast through Thursday, Aug. 8, has only limited rainfall for the southern and central crop areas. Notably, the southwestern sector of the Prairies will be dry, along with very warm to hot temperatures. The main beneficiary of rainfall will be the northwestern areas of Alberta, where the Peace River region has been very dry. The town of High Level, Alberta, has been affected by forest fires for several months, but may get some easing of fire conditions as a result of the rainfall.

As with the U.S., Prairies crops are lagging in development, some as much as two weeks behind average. Worries about fall frost are prominent in many producers' minds.

Thanks to DTN Canada Grains Analyst Cliff Jamieson for his assistance in this blog post.

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

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