With not a lot of snow on the ground in Western Canada and mild conditions expected to continue through the rest of the winter, it’s looking like there will be an early start to seeding on the prairies this spring.
Speaking at CropConnect in Winnipeg in the video below, consulting ag meteorologist Andy Nadler says above-normal temperatures are expected to stick around into the middle of summer. With the “super” El Nino lingering in the Pacific Ocean, he says there’s better-than-average consensus among weather forecasting models.
“The forecasts all tend to agree. In a typical year, without these types of signals, the forecasts tend to be all over the map, whereas in this case, they tend to be in pretty close agreement,” says Nadler, who used to serve as the ag meteorologist for Manitoba Agriculture.
The lack of snow cover in much of Western Canada, combined with dry conditions in areas last fall and the increased crop water demand if above normal temperatures continue, are pointing to another dry growing season.
“I would at this point be a little concerned about moisture availability in that we might have a bit of a drier-than-average season,” says Nadler.
While it’s still rare to have this level of confidence in a longer season forecast, he says there have been major strides made in short-term forecasting and farm level weather information.
“We’ve seen amazing advancements in forecasting in the last five years, and a lot of this has to do with the big data phenomenon where there’s just more resources going into it,” Nadler says. “We’re absolutely making progress. The one-to-five days, it’s incredible where it’s come.”