Frost forecast again as cold temps hit Prairies

Temperatures across the grain and oilseed growing regions of Western Canada dropped to below normal levels overnight, with the risk of frost remaining in the forecast over the next day or so.

Areas across southern Saskatchewan into eastern Alberta hit 0 C from one to four hours in patchy regions overnight, according to Environment Canada.

Grant McLean, crop management specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture in Moose Jaw, said it’s very unlikely that any crops were damaged by the cold temperatures last night.

"In most cases we’ve had cool temperatures for the last couple of days so the crops are more hardened off to the cooler temperatures," he said.

"We’ve also had precipitation, and the moisture acts as a heat sink to absorb some of those colder temperatures so tissue damage is limited."

Environment Canada forecasts lows of 0 C for tonight with risks of frost in some areas across the Prairies. McLean said if skies are clear, the cooler temperatures could last longer.

However, he said, a lot of cereal plants in Saskatchewan aren’t past the three-leaf stage of development and won’t be affected by the weather.

"They can take very cold temperatures because the growing point is still below the ground," he said.

Bruce Burnett, weather analyst with the CWB in Winnipeg, said because Manitoba seeded earlier than other Prairie provinces, frost could have a more severe affect on crops in the region.

"We’re worried about canola because a lot of the plants are emerged already. And, now the growing point of the plant is above the soil surface making it more vulnerable," he said.

McLean recommends farmers wait a few days after the cold temperatures are over to check their fields for plant population and to see if the growing point is damaged or not before making any decisions about reseeding.

"When we get to this date, even a thin plant population, if it’s relatively uniform, is better than reseeding," McLean said.

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