Southern Manitoba hit by frost

A frost hit almost all of southern Manitoba early Monday morning, with temperatures dipping to minus four in some regions.

The cold temperatures arrived just as canola and soybean plants were popping out of the ground, so a number of producers may have to re-seed their crops.

“At this point we’re really encouraging producers to just go, look and see what they actually have up (out of the ground),” said Anastasia Kubinec, Manitoba Agriculture manager of crop industry development, from her office in Carman.

Manitoba Agriculture temperature data, released this morning, shows that temperatures dipped below zero in every agricultural zone of the province.

Crops in the northwest and parts of the Interlake could be the hardest hit. Temperatures in those regions sank below zero for six and seven hours – with minimum temperatures hitting -3.0 to -4.0 Celsius

For instance:

• Arborg recorded six hours below zero, with a minimum temp of – 3.1 C

• Grandview had eight hours below zero, with a minimum of -4.6 C

• Laurier dropped to -3.2 C and it was below zero for eight hours

“Minus four for four to six hours, is a fairly heavy frost for a significant amount of time,” Kubinec said. “Guys are going to have to look at those reports we put out today and go and assess.”

How low the temperatures dipped and the duration below zero will influence the amount of frost damage, but other factors are relevant.

Parts of Manitoba received rain May 25 and that may have protected the emerging crop.

“Wet soils tend to buffer the (cold) temperatures better than dry soils,” Kubinec said. “Where the soil was sopping wet because they got up to an inch (of rain), I feel there will be less concern there.”

It also depends on the crop. Cereals are more tolerant of frost than canola and soybeans.

There’s also the question of emergence.

Air temperatures have been below normal in May, delaying crop emergence in much of the province. A percentage of growers began seeding canola in late April and early May, but most of the crop was seeded after May 15.

“I would say the majority of the canola went in the past 10 days. So it may be just starting to pop up…. We may have dodged the bullet a little bit,” Kubinec said.

“I think the majority of producers… will be okay. But specific regions definitely will have damage.”

If this frost arrived five days from now, it might have been much worse.

On June 1, 2015 a hard frost hit much of southern Manitoba, with temperatures sinking to -7.0 C, forcing producers to re-seed nearly a million acres of canola.

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

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