A long and cold winter could mean a late start to 2018 planting for Ontario producers.
Speaking at the Southwestern Agricultural Conference earlier this week, James Garriss of Browning Media – a Las Vegas-based long-term climate forecasting service - told attendees that in the absence of an Alaskan volcano, which can skew the weather one way or the other, there is the potential for the current La Nina event to lengthen the winter season for much of southeastern Canada.
With a longer winter, there is the potential for the Great Lakes to mostly freeze over, creating a “refrigerator effect” that further extends the duration of colder-than-normal temperatures, as well as the severity of winter storms, into early spring, Garriss said, although he suggested the impacts might not be as severe as they were during the spring of 2014.
As most producers will remember, the Great Lakes also largely froze over during the particularly brutal 2013-14 winter, with cold weather providing virtually no opportunity for Ontario producer to plant corn through April and into early May. Indeed, 2014 saw some snowfall into mid-May.
For the early winter, Garriss was predicting the mostly cold and snowy weather that much of the province has seen so far, but he said things could begin to shift later on, with the late winter marked by relatively warmer, but still snowy conditions, in much of the southwestern part of the province. On the other hand, he said he expects the colder weather to persist in areas further east, including from Toronto into Ottawa.
With the potential for the Great Lakes freeze up, Garriss said is forecasting cold and snowy weather to return to the southwest in the early spring, while also maintaining its grip further east.
With the La Nina event likely to fade by mid-spring, Garriss said the melting of the ice on the Great Lakes will result in generally wetter – and warmer – weather for most of the southern portion of the province into the late spring.
Source : Syngenta