Extreme cold offers some silver linings

If you’ve happened to go outside in much of Canada the last couple of weeks, you’ll be well aware of the bone-chilling cold that gripped parts of the country over the holidays. For some, the cold halted plans, while others merely took more time to don more layers, or scheduled an urgent meeting with their travel agent. For the agricultural community, it has certainly inspired some questions.

Cold winter coming to the prairies, snow in the east

Our resident agronomist, Peter Johnson, joined host Shaun Haney to address some of these questions in an agronomic update this week on RealAg Radio (click link to listen).

“From an agricultural standpoint,” Johnson said, the cold “really does have some concerns and some benefits.”

The big benefit, according to Johnson, is the affect cold can have on insect pests of crops.

“When it goes into that -10/-15 zone for long enough, then a lot of the soil insect pests don’t survive that very well. So we would hope that a number of those pests would be reduced in numbers this year.”

“Why do we call it a blanket of snow? ‘Cause that’s exactly what it is. So just because it’s -40 when you go out on your snowmobile (or decide that you’re not going out on your snowmobile), underneath the snow we…aren’t having the impact we would maybe want to have on those soil pests.”

Wheat School: Preventing and Managing an Insect Problem in the Bin

On the other side of the coin, low temperatures can negatively impact overwintering crops where the ‘blanket’ of snow has been uncovered — another good reminder of the importance of stubble to catch and hold snow. Wheat markets, particularly in Kansas City, have rallied on concerns about winterkill in the last week.

Wheat School: Hanging Tough Through Thaw and Freeze


RealAgriculture News Team

A team effort of RealAgriculture's videographers and editorial staff to make sure that you have the latest in what is happening in agriculture.


Wheat prices jump into August — This week in the grain markets

This week, winter wheat prices touched a three-year high, but it didn’t last. Chicago SRW wheat prices for September 2018 gained 5 per cent or about 26 cents US/bushel to close at $5.56. While the December 2018 contract was up 5.4 percent — or nearly 30 cents — to finish a tad under $5.80. In…Read more »


Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.