Delayed Wheat & Canola Crops Still Vulnerable to Frost

While the majority of the Western Canadian crop is no longer vulnerable to frost, there are still areas where wheat and canola, as well as longer-season soybeans and corn, are not ready for the freezing temperatures that are expected over the next few nights.

According to Bruce Burnett, weather and crop specialist with CWB, between five and 10 percent of wheat and canola acres in eastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba are still vulnerable to frost. Most of these fields were delayed by excess moisture early in the growing season.

“There would be quality damage for sure, but we would probably see some yield damage as well,” he says. “When canola gets hit by frost you do see a yield drop-off. For wheat it’s probably a little bit more of a quality issue, but with lighter test weights you’d probably be looking at lower yields as well.”

Soybeans and corn on the eastern side of the prairies are also at risk, but Burnett notes temperatures are not expected to drop as low in the east.

Related: The End of the Growing Season? Drew Lerner’s Frost Forecast

With frost adding to the problems with crop quality, Burnett says he expects a growing spread in prices of high versus low quality wheat.

“In the U.S. we’re seeing some very strong premiums for high protein, high quality wheat,” says Burnett. “In Canada that has lagged a bit, mostly because we have a larger carryout, but I think over time this will also translate into higher premiums.”

Listen to Bruce Burnett’s conversation with Kelvin Heppner:

Can’t see the audio player? Click here.

(Click on maps to enlarge.)

 Average first fall frost - 50% risk of reaching -2.2 degrees C (Nadler, 2007)

Date for average first fall frost – 50% risk of reaching -2.2 degrees C (Nadler, 2007)

 Average first fall frost - 50% risk of reaching 0 degrees C (Nadler, 2007)

Date for average first fall frost – 50% risk of reaching 0 degrees C (Nadler, 2007)


Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor and radio host for RealAgriculture and RealAg Radio. He's been reporting on agriculture on the prairies and across Canada since 2008(ish). He farms with his family near Altona, Manitoba, and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin. @realag_kelvin


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