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New weather tools for Cdn. farmers

New weather tools for Cdn. farmers

The federal ag and environment ministries collaborated on weather indices

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Two federal ministries combined resources to bring Canadian farmers new weather prediction tools.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada have together developed 12 Extreme Weather Indices to help producers prepare for extreme weather conditions.

The month-long weekly forecasts, which are available online, include probabilities of drying days and number of days with strong winds. The online maps allow users to see where the forecast is expected to occur, the magnitude and the probability of the forecast.

This kind of weather information will benefit producers, said Patrick Cherneski, manager of the National Agroclimate Information Service with AAFC.

“The incidence and frequency of extreme weather is expected to increase and with it the risks to agricultural production,” he said in a statement on June 21. “Forecast products such as these help provide insights into the future risks and this is highly desired by decision makers.”

Some farmers are skeptical of how accurate these weather predictions could be.

Other weather tools from these same industries have proved unreliable in the past. Farmers will need time to use these indices to determine if they are worthwhile, said Clayton Harder, a cash crop producer from near Winnipeg, Man.

 “On the surface, if it could work and was accurate at even a 75 per cent rate, I would classify that as a game changer,” he told Farms.com. “But, if it’s as accurate as the current 90-days forecast from Environment Canada, I would say it’s absolutely worthless.”

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