Agroclimate National Risk Report – November 5 to December 3, 2019
This report provides timely information on the regional agroclimate conditions, risks and impacts across Canada. This is the last report for the 2019 growing season. Reporting will resume in spring 2020.
The most significant climate related risk to agriculture over the reporting period were:
- poor harvest conditions across most of Canada’s agricultural regions
Frequent precipitation, excess moisture and poor drying conditions have caused substantial and widespread crop degradation, yield losses, crop abandonment and record harvest delays throughout western Canada.
In eastern Canada, late maturing crops were subjected to cool wet conditions, which led to harvest delays and a significant amount of crop remaining in the field.
Above-normal temperatures are forecast across the country for the month of December. Warm temperatures may help producers in eastern Canada advance harvest, but the season is finished in western Canada. The three-month forecast for this winter predicts continued above-normal temperatures across most of the country and above-average precipitation through British Columbia, the northern Prairies, and the Great Lakes. With saturated soils, abundant surface water and full riverbeds, there is concern over spring runoff and the potential for flooding events with much of Canada’s agricultural areas heading into winter.
Harvest season is complete across most of the country. Harvesting delays have pushed back winter wheat seeding, which will limit yield potential in 2020.
Detailed view of the areas of highest risk
- British Columbia’s northern Interior and Peace regions continued to encounter poor harvest conditions throughout November. Fall harvest has now ended in this region, leaving approximately 40 to 50 percent of crop unharvested.
- The majority of canola in the northern Interior and Peace Regions has been swathed and is now under snow. These crops will be harvested in spring with unknown losses in yield and quality.
- Storage of root vegetables may be difficult due to wet and muddy harvest conditions.
- Snow and rain throughout the fall period have resulted in excessively wet conditions, which have now halted harvest operations. Limited harvest progress has been made since early November in what is reported to be the longest harvest season on record.
- In southern Alberta, 15 percent of potato crops and 45 percent of sugar beet crops remain frozen in the ground and had to be abandoned.
- High quality hay and bedding is scarce across the province, with costs being 50 to 75 percent higher than normal.
- Damage from sprouting, staining, and bleaching issues were identified.
- Above normal precipitation and cool conditions in the past 30 days halted harvest operations.
- Ninety three percent of crops have been harvested, with the east-central region furthest behind with only 83 percent harvested.
- Yields were reported average to above average in most areas, while the quality is below average. Sprouting, staining, and bleaching issues were reported.
- In November, aeration and drying continued on farms as much of the harvested grain was tough and damp.
- Harvest was significantly delayed due to excessively wet and cool conditions throughout the fall. Harvest is now complete with 91 percent of crops harvested, with minimal progress in November. All crops that have been harvested since September required significant drying and/or aeration.
- Spring cereals and canola have average yields reported in most areas, while soybeans and corn are below average.
- Approximately 50 percent of grain corn has been harvested. Yields are average to below average with good quality. Corn silage left in the field is lodged under snow.
- Late harvesting in wet conditions has resulted in low quality canola and cereals. Sprouting, mildew and mold were reported.
- Livestock feed shortages due to excessive moisture has led to herds downsizing. Shortages are most severe in the southwest region and the Interlake region.
- Excessively wet conditions in November significantly impacted harvest progress in eastern Ontario.
- Yields of dry beans were reported to be average to above average but of poor quality due to these excessively wet conditions.
- Hay quality is poor, particularly across northern Ontario which experienced below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation in the fall.
- Provincially, 10 percent of soybeans remain in the field. In eastern Ontario, 20 percent of soybeans were unharvested and are now covered by snow.
- Corn harvest is delayed due to late seeding and poor growing conditions. Approximately 30 percent of corn remains in the field. Corn quality is expected to be downgraded due to high moisture and limited propane supplies.
- Heavy rainfall in late October followed by very strong winds caused significant lodging in corn fields. Snow has complicated harvesting and drying operations.
- Corn harvest is 44 percent complete provincially with a range of 25 to 80 percent unharvested depending on the region.
- As of the end of November, 93 percent of soybeans were harvested provincially.
- Ongoing excess soil moisture has slowed down the maturity of soybean, cereal, and grain corn which delayed harvest. In addition, propane shortages reduced the ability to dry crops.
- The Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) December forecast is for above average temperatures across the country, with the exception of near seasonal temperatures forecast for southern Quebec. Above average precipitation is expected through British Columbia, the northern Prairie region, the Great Lakes and Newfoundland. Below average precipitation is forecast for the southern Prairies, northwestern Ontario and eastern Quebec.
- There is a risk of spring flooding throughout much of western Canada due to high soil moisture, high streamflow and high surface water supplies going in to freeze up (Figure 2). At this time it is difficult to forecast winter precipitation. Continued monitoring throughout the winter will be required to assess the risk. Areas of particular concern include the northern and central interior regions of British Columbia and southern Manitoba.
- The ECCC monthly forecast for December 2019 to February 2020 (map not shown) is for above average temperatures across most of Canada. Above average precipitation is expected through British Columbia, the northern Prairies, and the Great Lakes.
This report was created with help from our network of Agroclimate Impact Reporter volunteers. Each month, they help us report on current conditions and weather-related risks to Canada's agriculture sector. Interested in becoming an Agroclimate Impact Reporter? Join the network.
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