Harvest window on CDN prairies starting to narrow

WINNIPEG, Nov. 15 – The dry, balmy weather that has given farmers in Western Canada the chance to get the remainder of this year’s crop off appears to be winding down.

“There is a little disturbance in Alberta coming across to northern Saskatchewan over the next two days. It will start tonight,” said Drew Lerner, of World Weather Inc. in Kansas City during an interview the morning of Nov. 15.

The snow will likely total between two to eight centimetres in various regions, he added. Some of it may drift down to central Saskatchewan as well.

“I think there will be enough snow to stop fieldwork – in the northern fringes of crop country,” said Lerner.

The recent wave of dry weather across Western Canada has given farmers a second chance to combine crops in 2016. Wet weather in September and October had caused many to think that crops like canola would see much lower production than previously estimated.

Initial estimates pegged this year’s crop at 18 million tonnes but fall rains lowered that projection to as little as 14 million tonnes.

It remains to be seen how much progress producers made during the late harvest window.

Lerner said cold temperatures will likely follow the precipitation in the affected regions. Harvesting will still be possible in central and southern areas but the warm weather will be gone.

“I’m not convinced we’ll see warmth like this until next spring,” he said.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba won’t likely see much of a threat of snow over the next seven to 10 days.

“They will probably be OK until the next storm system comes along and that’s going to be a little while,” he added.

The one variable Lerner is watching however, is a storm down in the U.S. northern plains. That system now appears to be headed to southern Ontario but could strike Manitoba if it “lifts further to the north.”

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