It's time for La Niña to take a break


La Niña is wrapping up in spring 2023, possibly making way for El Niño which will change global weather patterns. Weather is always a hot topic in the agriculture industry so what do producers need to know about this upcoming shift?

Art Douglas, a forecaster for Gavilon, joined RealAg’s Kara Oosterhuis at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference to talk about the upcoming shift from La Niña to El Niño and what can be expected weather-wise around the world.

Douglas says we are getting ready to shift from La Niña to El Niño. So what does this mean for crop and cattle production? He says that areas that have been producing well will produce poorly and vice versa, as globally, we are going to see a flip in weather patterns and, in turn, production.

Douglas says that for now Canada is locked in La Niña until about April. When the flip towards El Niño begins, central Canada and the U.S. will experience benign summer conditions with mild temperatures and normal to above normal precipitation levels.

See all our coverage of the Alberta Beef Industry Conference here

What does El Niño mean for crops around the world? Douglas explains that Australia’s droughts and fires from 2014-2018 were due to El Niño pulling Pacific moisture away from Australia. The oncoming El Niño is already beginning to dry out Australia and will have effects on agriculture there.

Douglas says the Black Sea region is in for lower temperatures and higher moisture through spring and summer. El Niño brings a quick cold turn in September-October for Mid-Western U.S. and central Canadian growers. North American producers should expect a jolt of cold for September and October and a nicer winter. Douglas says that most El Niño winters in Canada are mild and dry.

Douglas says that the typical lifespan of El Niño is about a year. That being said there is potential for a longer run. Douglas says  this El Niño is coming on fast and there is tendency for rapid-onset El Niño’s to only last a year and the longer running ones build up slower.

He adds that producers know what production and weather was like in the El Niño years of 2014 to 2018 and how conditions compared to La Niña years of 2019-2022. He says that producers need to look at their own notes and make calls based on their own experiences.

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