Frost hits crops in Canadian province of Alberta

Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:50am EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG Manitoba (Reuters) - Freezing temperatures covered much of the western Canadian province of Alberta early on Thursday, raising the risk of damage to wheat, barley and canola crops that did not fully develop.

Overnight temperatures included lows that were just slightly below freezing to well below, according to Environment Canada data. The national weather service reported a low of minus 6 Celsius (21.2 Fahrenheit) at Edmonton, with the temperature in the provincial capital hovering between minus 4 and minus 6 Celsius during a five-hour period.

Significant lows were also recorded at Lloydminster (minus 5.3 Celsius), Peace River (minus 3.1 Celsius), Red Deer (minus 4 Celsius) and points in between.

Parts of southern Alberta escaped the frost.

Alberta also received heavy snow on Wednesday, which poses a risk to quality for both standing and swathed crops.

As of Sept. 2, Alberta farmers had cut or harvested 39 percent of all crops. Crops that were still standing are the most vulnerable to frost damage.

In some areas, farmers had already cut much of their crops, said Charlie Pearson, crops market analyst for the Alberta government.

"We could lose a quality grade or two, but (the frost) is probably not a disaster at this point," he said.   Continued...

Calgary firefighters move trees that damaged cars, blocked roads and fallen on power lines during a summer snow storm in Calgary, Alberta, September 10, 2014. REUTERS/Todd Korol