Farmers in Canada, the world’s top canola producer, will probably be able to sow grain and oilseed crops early this year because warmer-than-usual weather is forecast for the spring.
Temperatures in the Canadian prairies are expected to remain above normal until mid-April, when a cold front in the U.S. will spur cooler weather for about two weeks, according to David Streit, agricultural meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group in Bethesda, Maryland. Planting should run ahead of normal, and the cooler period shouldn’t be long enough to interfere with sowing, he said.
The brighter planting outlook comes after cool, wet weather delayed seeding in the prairies last year, with less than 60 percent of the crop planted by late May.
“As far as interruptions to planting, some of the problems that we saw last year, I don’t see that kind of thing recreating itself this year,” Streit said in a March 19 telephone interview. “It does look like temperatures will probably on average be above normal going forward.”
Farmers in parts of southern Alberta and western Saskatchewan may be planting crops such as durum by the end of March, Bruce Burnett, a weather and crop specialist with CWB in Winnipeg, said in a March 20 telephone interview. Warmer temperatures increase the chances other areas that were flooded by heavy rainfall in 2014 will dry out and be ready for growers to seed crops, he said.
Farmers typically plant between mid-April and mid-June, Burnett said.
“I’m confident we’re certainly going to have an earlier spring than we’ve had the past couple of years,” Burnett said.
Dryness may be a concern during the summer as below-average rainfall is expected in parts of the prairies, Streit of Commodity Weather Group said. Yields in some fields in the Peace River region of Alberta could be cut by as much as 5 percent amid a possible drought, he said.
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