Warmer-than-normal temperatures have been welcomed across the Canadian Prairies during the past week to help speed up crop development. Considerable amounts of sunny weather with mostly spotty but beneficial rainfall is helping to send crops closer to the finish line as we move into the final stages of summer.
A lengthy period of cooler-than-normal weather during some of the more critical crop development stages earlier in the summer has left crops as much as a week or a little more behind schedule for many areas from Saskatchewan to Manitoba. The delay across Alberta appears to be somewhat less due to more moderate weather during June and July.
Soil moisture conditions remain in good shape for the majority of the region. While we have seen no widespread rainstorms through the region, there have been a few weak fronts and low pressure areas that have deposited scattered showers and thunderstorms of mostly a beneficial nature. Some of the heaviest activity has been across Manitoba during the recent week where reports of heavy rain, hail and some wind damage are most common.
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Swathing of canola is increasing for all three provinces as the crop continues to mature. Pre-harvest activities and some early swathing of other spring cereal crops are also underway.
The weather pattern that has taken hold across western Canada and through much of the northern U.S. appears to be a stable one, meaning that we should see more of the same types of weather during the next week or 10 days that we have had during the past week.
A strong subtropical ridge across the central U.S. will continue to bubble up into southern Ontario and through the southeast Prairies and keep temperatures at warmer-than-normal levels for the remainder of August and possibly longer. Rains are expected to be mostly of a typical summer with scattered showers dropping varying amounts and keeping soil moisture at mostly favorable levels.
Normal first killing frost dates are fast approaching, but with the expected weather pattern during the next two weeks we think that any significant frost threats may be delayed some. This is good news for farmers as the expected warmth should help crops advance to the final stages of development before the fall chill arrives.
Doug Webster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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