Prairie harvest window possible next week

CNS Canada — Cold and wet conditions on the Prairies are expected to clear up over the next week, allowing a window of opportunity for harvest, though the size of that window remains to be seen.

“Western and northern parts of Alberta have some serious issues,” said Drew Lerner of World Weather Inc. in Kansas City. “It’s been raining a lot, they haven’t done much, and now they have snow on the ground.”

He said it was now at the tail end of the wetter weather, with a drier bias developing in Alberta over the weekend. Temperatures may remain cool at first, but a building ridge of high pressure should suppress precipitation and eventually allow warming to take place.

“It will get better,” said Lerner, adding, “the question is, just how long will it last?”

He wasn’t convinced that the ridge would be a permanent feature, but would eventually break down “and we’ll probably have some more moisture to deal with.”

Looking at Saskatchewan, Lerner expected to see widespread moisture over the weekend before harvest conditions improve next week and into late September. While moisture may be delaying the harvest in some areas, he expected any precipitation would also be welcomed in the drought areas of the province.

Manitoba’s harvest is already much farther along, although the heavy rains seen Wednesday night into Thursday morning will lead to setbacks for those crops still out. Lerner forecast a drier bias in Manitoba over the next week, but it won’t stay as dry as further west.

Looking to the winter months, “if an El Nino develops, the Prairies will have a warm and dry bias over the winter,” said Lerner. However, he said, the latest data was not as conclusive on the chances for an El Nino.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Glacier FarmMedia company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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