As if Alberta’s northern region hadn’t had enough adversity this growing season, social media filled with reports of frost over the weekend.
Christi Friesen, a farmer in the province’s Peace Country, tweeted a picture confirming the frost early Saturday morning, writing that the barley and wheat (early milk to early dough stage) were officially hit.
“Typically, if you’re in that mid- to later grain fill period, you can stand -1 – even -2 – before you see any significant injury,” says Peter Johnson, RealAgriculture’s resident agronomist, adding even probably up to -4 won’t do significant damage. “The problem is that it said -1 on the thermometer – does that mean it was actually -1 where the wheat plant is, or in the hollows of those areas; did it get down to -6 or -7? Because that definitely spells big trouble.”
Johnson, who joined RealAg Radio Monday, says he’s hopeful that this frost was a close call, because of its timing.
“If ever, ever, it goes below zero at pollination, then you’re done,” says Johnson. “But canola, cereals in that grain fill period are more frost tolerant than you might think, so hopefully they’re okay from that perspective.”
Frost pockets in northern fringes of #CanadaPrairies and #Russia during weekend raise worry over more significant cold bouts later this season that might have a bigger impact on immature crops in North America and to a lesser degree in Russia
— World Weather, Inc. (@worldwx) August 11, 2019
— Christi (@ChristiFriesen) August 10, 2019
Very unfortunate to hear about a frost event last night in parts of Northern Alberta. At this point all we can really do is give it a couple of days to assess the extent of the damage. Hoping for the best for all of the farmers affected. @CanolaWatch @AlbertaCanola
— Angela Brackenreed (@BrackenreedCCC) August 10, 2019
In general, we say ‘heavy’ frost is -2C, which can cause yield damage through pod-splitting and loss (freezing/shriveling) of immature seeds. But it can happen that fields have minimal damage from colder temps. What are fields like two days after? https://t.co/EkSGcEMQXU
— CW Jay Whetter (@CanolaWatch) August 12, 2019
— Christi (@ChristiFriesen) August 12, 2019