Agroclimate National Risk Report – September 24 to October 8, 2019
This report provides timely information on the regional agroclimate conditions, risks and impacts across Canada. Reports are produced on a bi-weekly basis.
The most significant risks to agriculture over the reporting period were:
- excessively wet and cool conditions leading to significantly delayed harvesting in western Canada.
In British Columbia, the Peace region continues to face harvest delays of greater than four weeks due to wet conditions. In the central interior of British Columbia, abnormally high end of season rainfall has slowed forage and grain harvest resulting in some producers sending cattle to market this fall.
Across the Prairies, harvest is three to four weeks behind with 34, 55 and 71 per cent of crops harvested in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba respectively. Crops have degraded rapidly. Early season drought has resulted in hay and feed shortages in all three prairie provinces. Early season drought has resulted in hay and feed shortages in all three provinces. However, poor quality crops could potentially be used for livestock feed, reducing feed shortage issues, as long as producers are able to harvest the crop.
In eastern Canada, harvest delays are not as severe but cool temperatures and variable maturity continued to impact late-seeded and late-season crops, most notably corn and soybeans. Crops need two to three weeks to mature. Producers are concerned with the increasing likelihood of frost.
The forecast for October 8 to 22, 2019, is for below normal temperatures across western Canada, particularly the southern extent of British Columbia and Alberta. Below normal temperatures are forecast for Atlantic Canada. Precipitation is forecasted for much of British Columbia, Manitoba and the Atlantic region. Manitoba is expected to receive 60 to 80mm. In eastern Canada, mild but wet conditions are expected.
Detailed view of the areas of highest risk
- Continued widespread precipitation and cooler temperatures have occurred in all agricultural regions this reporting period. Excess moisture has halted harvest progress has led to deterioration of crop quality particularly in the Peace and central Interior regions.
- In the Peace Region, excess and untimely precipitation are significantly impacting cereal, oilseed and forage harvest, where harvest is four or more weeks behind normal.
- In Central Interior regions little progress has been made with harvests due to wet conditions. As a result of poor forage production, some producers are selling cattle early.
- Killing frosts have occurred in the Peace and central Interior regions; damage assessments are ongoing.
- Harvest in most agricultural regions is two to three weeks behind normal. Very little progress was made through the reporting period due to a combination of rain, snow, excess moisture and high humidity. Approximately 34 per cent of major crops have been harvested, significantly behind the 5 year average of 54 per cent.
- Yield losses are anticipated to be at 50 to 80 per cent throughout the central and northern regions as a result of excess moisture, inaccessible field conditions, crops being flattened by snowfall and wind, as well as damage from wildlife and waterfowl feeding on swathed crops.
- Hay and forage crops that have been swathed will require considerable drying conditions for baling.
- Harvest in the south is furthest along at 80 per cent complete; however, this region received 30 to 50 cm of snow during the reporting period halting further harvest. Snow on standing crops has resulted in flattening and lodging. Livestock producers reported having to dig out animals trapped in the snow and had to dig pathways to corrals, feed and water supplies.
- Much of the province experienced killing frosts exceeding −4°C during the reporting period. Yield impacts cannot be fully assessed until harvest is complete.
- Excess moisture and cold temperature continued to delay harvesting and degrade crop quality. As of September 30, harvest was only 47 per cent complete compared to the five year average of 75 per cent. Harvest in the Southwestern region is most advanced at 68 per cent completion.
- Autumn storms, strong winds, hail, snow and localized flooding have caused sprouting, bleaching and staining which may result in downgraded crop quality and reduced yields. Geese and wildlife feeding on swathed crops are causing significant damage. Grains that have been harvested are requiring significant drying. It is estimated that two to three weeks of dry, warm weather are required to complete harvest.
- Pasture conditions have improved but there is still concern about feed availability this winter and next spring. Green feed from degraded crops may help make up for some of these shortages if they can be taken off this fall.
- Soils across the southern portion of the province are saturated having received record levels of precipitation this fall. Due to wet conditions, very little harvesting or field work has occurred in the past two weeks and the crops remaining in the field are at risk of significant damage.
- As of October 8, 71 per cent of the harvest has been completed below the three year average of 85 per cent. Soybean crops are at most at-risk with only 14 per cent harvested compared to the three-year average of 70 per cent. Commercial potato harvest is 30 to 60 per cent complete. Corn has not yet matured. Several weeks of dry weather is required to dry fields enough to continue harvest.
- Wet conditions have led to degraded crops quality, and harvested grain and oilseed crops require mechanical drying.
- Interlake and Central reported that haying, straw cutting and transport were delayed by wet conditions with the Interlake region reporting forage yields at 20-60 per cent of average.
- Immature crops, particularly corn and soybeans, need another two to three weeks for full maturity causing harvesting delays.
- Frost risk is high and could result in significant crop damage.
- Immature corn and soybean have resulted in harvesting delay in most regions.
- Dry conditions continue to be a concern in the Gaspé region in eastern Quebec.
- Frost risk is high and could result in significant crop damage.
- The Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) temperature forecast for October 15-22, 2019, is for below-normal temperatures across British Columbia, western Alberta, and the southern Prairies. Above normal temperatures are predicted for much of eastern Canada. The forecast through October 15 shows a high likelihood of greater than 25mm of precipitation in coastal British Columbia, eastern Manitoba, and Atlantic Canada.
- The Extreme Weather Index map (Figure 2) for the week ahead shows a forecast of one to seven days of frost (temperatures of less than −2°C) across much of British Columbia and western Alberta and one to four days of frost for much of the Prairie region. The area expected to receive the most days with frost are in and around the foothills of British Columbia and Alberta, and in the central interior of British Columbia.
- The ECCC monthly forecast for October 2019 (map not shown) is for below normal temperatures across southern portions of western Canada and the Atlantic region. Above normal temperatures are forecast for coastal British Columbia and the southern Ontario. The precipitation forecast indicates above normal precipitation through central British Columbia, northern Vancouver Island, the Peace River region, and in much of eastern Canada. Dry conditions are forecast for parts of central Alberta, northern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Newfoundland.
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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