Frost seen for Western Canada, most crops should be okay

Wed May 9, 2012 11:42am EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Parts of Western Canada may see freezing temperatures later this week, but the damage to crops would be minimal with seeding still just getting underway, weather and crop specialists say.

Frost should reach southern Alberta and Saskatchewan on Thursday or Friday and stay below freezing overnight, said Andrew Owen, meteorologist at U.S.-based World Weather Inc.

Only those crops that have poked through the soil would be at risk, and there are few at that stage, Owen said.

Government forecaster Environment Canada is calling for temperatures to dip around or below the freezing mark in southern and central Saskatchewan, as well as southern Alberta by Friday.

In Saskatchewan, Canada's biggest crop-growing province, seeding has slipped slightly behind the normal pace, leaving little risk of imminent frost damage, said Grant McLean, cropping management specialist for the Saskatchewan government.

"I don't think it's a big deal," he said.

Winter wheat in some areas may be damaged, he said, but it makes up a small percentage of Canada's total wheat crop.

Canada is the world's biggest producer of canola, or rapeseed, and the top exporter of spring wheat, durum and oats.   Continued...