From drought concerns to "good change" — AccuWeather's spring outlook


Weather is never far from the minds or mouths of farmers, and this year is certainly no exception. With parts of the prairies under a thick blanket of snow, and Ontario dealing with a wet bias, concerns and opportunities, are aplenty.

On Tuesday, RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney heard from four farmers from Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. Though weather and soil conditions may impact their decisions going forward, the farmers remain optimistic.

Later the same day, Haney caught up with Brett Anderson, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather, on RealAg Radio for his outlook on the upcoming growing season.

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The conversation starts with a rather cold, wet Ontario, where producers are waiting to see some semblance of a planting season.

“Unfortunately they’re gonna keep waiting — not so much where it’s going to be cold, but we think it’s gonna stay wet,” says Anderson. “So the ground is going to be more like a sponge for a while.”

Anderson suggests Ontario will see a cold pattern for a week or so, but that Arctic air masses will lift up in the short-term. That means air will be coming from British Columbia or Washington State instead. Cool, but not cold.

In terms of precipitation, Anderson predicts a fairly wet pattern through April, with “no signs of any extended warmth.”

The next month may, however, bring the “good change” farmers are looking for, with near to above average temperatures expected.

Western Canada

In the west, good news is on the horizon.

Like Ontario, western provinces can expect the Arctic connection to break, with air coming from the west instead, starting around April 10-11. Anderson expects a “slow crawl” to warmer temperatures to follow, with near to slightly below normal temperatures through mid-month, and near-normal towards the end.

On expected precipitation, there’s variation as you move west to east.

“I do think we’re looking at above normal rain or snow across western parts of Alberta up into the mountains. As you go into eastern parts of Alberta, through Saskatchewan, I still think we’re looking at drier than normal conditions persisting through the rest of the spring.”

“I’m concerned because usually what we see mid-spring turns into what you get in the summer in terms of drought. And yes, I’m concerned about Saskatchewan especially, even western parts of Manitoba.”

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