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Prairie farming and the weather

This summer has had a dramatic effect on farming in the Prairies
This summer has had a dramatic effect on farming in the Prairies

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

August 27, 2010 — It's been a fairly cool and wet summer across the Prairie provinces. How are farmers in the area coping?

Seeding has been a challenge this summer
Seeding has been a challenge this summer

Heavy rain and flooding have had a major impact on farming across parts of western Canada this summer.

In some cases, farmers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba have been forced to leave up to 20 per cent of their crops unplanted this season. Others are dealing with stressed crops. For some, harvest in estimated to be one to two weeks behind normal.

Doug Faller is a farmer in Saskatchewan. He says he's had more luck with the weather than others.

“We were pretty well off in this area in the spring, a little on the dry side. It actually didn't start raining in earnest until about May 22nd,” explains Faller. “Never the less, as I'm cutting my barley crop, I'm encountering wet conditions in the low lying areas. The same thing happened when I cut my canolas.”

Cool, wet weather to continue
Cool, wet weather to continue

Still, Faller has been affected by this summer's heavy amounts of rain.

“It's been a bit of an adventure to stay above ground with my tractor and get it down on the ground properly, so I'm wondering if I've been in a bit of a dry area and not nearly as bad as some other areas, I would not want to face the conditions they're facing.”

What farmers need is a warm September like last year to salvage a decent growing season. However, more often than not, western Canada gets its first round of frost or even snow in September.

This weekend, conditions are looking cool across much of the Prairies.

“As the cold front moves off to the east, temperatures will struggle to reach 20°C,” says Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “Northwest winds will be gusting up to 60km/h, bringing a Fall chill to the air.”

And it's not just the wind and cool temperatures farmers will have to look out for.

“Another low pressure system will cross the Rockies on Saturday, bringing widespread showers to the southern Prairies Sunday into Monday,” explains Dillon.

For more forecast details where you are, click our Canadian Cities Index. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV, where your local forecast comes up every ten minutes on the tens.

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