With the harvest already complete or wrapping up in many parts of Western Canada, producers in the driest areas would now obviously welcome rain.
However, it does not appear any major or widespread relief is on the immediate horizon.
The latest edition of World Weather’s Canadian Agriculture Weather Prognosticator suggests the dryness will persist through October and at least into November, ensuring the current moisture deficits in the driest Prairie areas will continue into the winter months.
As can be seen on the map below, much of Saskatchewan and Alberta were exceedingly dry through the month of September, receiving less than 40% of normal precipitation. Much warmer than normal temperatures during the month exacerbated the dryness, with high temperatures in the drought region of central through southwestern Saskatchewan and southern through east-central Alberta soaring above 30s degrees C as recently as last week. Large parts of Manitoba were also drier than normal, although a notable exception was a pocket south of Winnipeg where there was too much rain.
Last week’s weekly Saskatchewan crop report said the situation is getting worse each week for those producers in the hard-hit southwestern region of the province – where topsoil moisture is reported at 89% short to very short - noting producers are being forced to pull their cattle home early due to unsafe water sources and almost no pasture grass left to graze.
“Substantial amounts of precipitation will be needed over the fall and winter months to replenish the subsoil and topsoil moisture conditions for next year,” the report said.
Meanwhile, another poor hay crop in many parts of the Prairies also means some cattle producers are opting to reduce their herd size rather than buy the feed they need at inflated prices.
But while the drier -and warmer-than normal bias is expected by World Weather to continue for the remainder of October and into November, not all may be lost. There is the potential for a pattern shift in late November/December which could bring an improvement in winter precipitation, meaning “more snow to melt in the spring than we have seen in recent years.”
Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.
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