Prairie freeze damages immature canola, cereal

Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:49am EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Freezing overnight temperatures on the Canadian Prairies damaged immature crops of canola and cereal grains, an agricultural meteorologist said Wednesday.

Late-seeded canola was the most vulnerable to frost, which would stop development with some unripe seeds still green and lower the quality grade.

Temperatures in Saskatchewan dipped for at least several hours to about -2 C to -5 C (28.4 to 23 Fahrenheit) in general, with extreme lows of -8 C in some areas, said Drew Lerner, president of Kansas City based World Weather Inc.

"For immature crops that may be out there, it would definitely be damaging," Lerner said. "It was notably colder (than expected)."

Northwestern Saskatchewan had the largest amount of vulnerable canola in that province, according to government officials.

Temperatures got as cold in northwestern Saskatchewan as -5 C at North Battleford, said Grant McLean, cropping management specialist for the Saskatchewan government.

Immature spring wheat may see frost damage to the bran surface of the kernel, potentially affecting flour quality. Frozen oats can accumulate too much nitrates and poison cattle if not correctly managed, McLean said.

"There may be some grade discounts on some of the later crops."   Continued...