It should be a much better crop year for farmers in the prairies this year.
The Senior Agri-Meteorologist with World Weather Inc says farmers in southern Saskatchewan will still be looking for some rain in the spring, but then things should turn around.
Drew Lerner says while a lot of areas have snow there isn’t a lot of moisture in it.
“We’ve had cold weather here for a while and most of the snow when it falls in a cold atmosphere doesn’t have a lot of moisture in it. The snowflakes are really crystallized and it becomes real fluffy snow and so it doesn’t stack well. There’s a lot of air between the snowflakes, so it ends up accumulating much more significantly. Looking at it you think you’ve got all kinds of moisture, but if you take it and melt it down I think you’re going to find there’s not much moisture in it.”
Lerner says one of the concerns is the moisture content is a little low, noting that once the plant emerges farmers will be looking for that next rain event to sustain the crop.
“I think there are a lot of reasons for us, to not do really well with the volume of moisture this particular spring. As we go into the summer, I think we’ll start doing a lot better with a more routine occurrence of rain. I don’t want to imply that there’s not going to be moisture in the spring because there will be. If you’re looking to fix the moisture deficit from the past two years, we’re not going to do it during the early part of the spring at least. I think we’ll have enough moisture to get our seeds in the ground and get them started.”
He says April and May weather will see improved rainfall in the central and southern prairies. Southern Manitoba will be the wettest this spring, with many areas across the southern prairies wet this summer.
Lerner says the forecast for El Nino really hasn’t amounted to much, but he’s seeing signs that it could linger with more of an impact similar to 2004.
“If El Nino comes back, it does have an influence on the Prairies during the Spring and it usually includes an ongoing wetter bias North of 16 highway in Alberta in particular. Then for the Southwest and Central part of the Prairies, we tend to have that drier than normal condition still prevailing too. That’s why I say we’re going to have a little bit of a tough time this spring getting started, but as we move from Spring to Summer I think we’ll switch it around a little bit, and we’ll go the other way for both these areas.”
Lerner says once we get past the spring everyone’s going to do a little better and should have a better crop.
Lerner was one of the featured speakers at the Nutrien Ag Solutions Crop Information Day.