World weather worth watching as winter hits Canada

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

CNS Canada –– Harvest is wrapping up in Western Canada, but seeding is just starting in other parts of the world. Here are a few of the top market influencers traders and farmers are watching heading into winter.

El Nino in the Southern Hemisphere – The Southern Hemisphere is starting its wheat growing season, said Bruce Burnett, weather and crop specialist at G3 Canada. Argentina, Australia and Brazil are experiencing less than ideal growing conditions.

Australia in particular has been especially dry. If that dryness hurts crops in those regions, there would be more room for Canadian wheat in global markets.

“Australia has fared fairly well until recently, but now they’re starting to experience drier than normal conditions,” said Jason Nicholls, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.

He attributes the dryness to El Nino, a change in water temperature in the Pacific Ocean.

El Nino often brings above-average temperatures and drier conditions.

Farmers might get less rain relief during their tropical season, Nicholls said. “Looks like a below-normal tropical season in Australia, so that’s something to keep an eye on.”

Brazil doesn’t export wheat to any significant extent, but does import a lot, Burnett said.

Southern Brazil is seeing conditions on the wet side, which could support increased imports.

Winter wheat seeding in the Northern Hemisphere – The Northern Hemisphere, meanwhile, is in the midst of seeding winter wheat, Burnett said.

“It’s a bit dry in the Black Sea region for planting so there’s some concerns there, but they were dry last year. There are areas that need to get some rain here to help the crops get established before winter sets in,” he said.

Dryness in India – Another area of market interest is India, and how poor monsoon performance will impact wheat, pulse, and oilseed production.

Drought in India, the top producer and consumer of pulses, has caused the price of Canadian pulses to skyrocket.

Prairies set for warmer winter – Based on El Nino’s effects in the past, forecasters expect Canada’s winter to be warmer this year, with less snow, than usual.

“I’m not suggesting that we’re going to cancel winter — we’ve never done that — but it likely will be milder,” said David Phillips, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist.

“In fact in many cases, for ranchers, it may be good news. It may allow their cattle to graze on the prairie during the wintertime,” he said.

It might also save ranchers money on heating, he added.

— Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow her at @jade_markus on Twitter.

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