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Frost hits some Alta., Sask. crops

(Resource News International) Temperatures dropped below freezing overnight Wednesday in the grain and oilseed producing regions of central
and northern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Yields were not likely to have been significantly impacted,
but the quality of the crops in those areas probably suffered
some more, according to Bruce Burnett, director of the Canadian
Wheat Board’s weather and crop surveillance department.

Readings in central and northern Alberta dropped to as low
as -4°C while the readings in central and

northern Saskatchewan were in the -1°C range,
Burnett said. The duration of the cold was in the three-hour
category.

The crops in the central and northern areas of both Alberta
and Saskatchewan were believed to have been ripe enough to
harvest, but those operations were being delayed by ongoing wet
and cool conditions, he said.

Burnett also pointed out that growing conditions for the
various crops in those regions also have not been very good, so
yields and quality had already been suffering somewhat.

Wheat and barley fields were believed to have been the most
vulnerable to quality downgrading while canola was a little less
at risk from the frost.

“At least some of the canola in those regions were lying in
swath, which likely protected the crop somewhat,” Burnett said.

Damage to cereal crops in the region will include some
wrinkling, he said.

Temperatures overnight Thursday were also expected to drop
below freezing, but the coverage will include parts of all three
Prairie provinces, said Drew Lerner with World Weather Inc.

Readings were expected to range as low as -5°C to about 1°C, he said.

By next week, however, warmer temperatures were expected to
return to the Prairies, Lerner predicted.

“Once we get past the cool readings Thursday, temperatures
should begin to warm up during the weekend and continue to be a
bit above average during the next 10 days,” he forecast.

There will be localized precipitation during this time
period, but the amounts should not be enough to substantially
delay harvest operations.

Lerner cautioned, however, that after the 10-day period
readings would again turn below normal for this time of year in
Western Canada.

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