Drier-than-normal spring forecast for western Prairies

(Resource News International) — Producers in the grain-growing regions of western Saskatchewan and Alberta will have lower-than-normal precipitation levels to work with this spring as they try to plant crops, according to preliminary weather projections from an industry analyst.

“The crop models for the spring are calling for a wet bias in the southern regions of Manitoba and near-normal precipitation levels in most of southern Saskatchewan and the remaining crop growing areas of Manitoba,” said Drew Lerner of Kansas City-based World Weather Inc.

Precipitation in the western part of the Prairies, including Alberta and the northwestern third of Saskatchewan, will be less than usual, he predicted.

Lerner noted that temperatures in the spring will be cooler than normal in the eastern Prairie regions, particularly all of Manitoba and the southeastern and east-central parts of Saskatchewan.

Temperatures for crops were expected to be pretty close to normal in the western Prairies, with the exception of a narrow band coming out of the northwestern part of Saskatchewan crop country into the northern crop areas of Alberta, which will be warmer than normal, Lerner said.

Weather conditions for crop development in the southern two-thirds of Western Canada’s main producing regions during the summer will be on the wetter side, Lerner said. The northern growing areas will see closer to normal precipitation.

“Most of the below-normal precipitation will occur outside the key growing regions,” Lerner forecast.

Temperatures in the summer were forecast to be mostly near normal, with the exception of the west where there will probably be a bit cooler bias, Lerner said.

However, he cautioned that this cooler bias in the summer could still switch to the eastern regions of the Prairies, with the west then experiencing closer to normal temperatures.

Environment Canada, in its crop models for the May, June and July period, called for above normal temperatures in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the southern southeast tip of Alberta. Readings in the remainder of Alberta were forecast to be near normal.

Precipitation during the May-through-July period was forecast by Environment Canada to be below average in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

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