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article imageDrought conditions worry producers in Central and Eastern Canada

By Ken Hanly     Jul 16, 2012 in Environment
Simcoe - As in parts of the United States drought conditions exacerbated by heat waves worry farmers in Canada. Producers in parts of Central Canada and Eastern Canada may see yields reduced because of drought.
David Philips a senior climatologist at Environment Canada said.
"I'm calling it a drought, no question about it,""Besides the lack of precipitation, there is just this hot weather and it's like a double whammy," "There's no rain and all that heat demands evaporation ... it's almost as if the atmosphere has forgotten how to rain."
In Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces some places have experienced the lowest rainfall amounts on record. At the same time many high temperature records have been set as well. The conditions are bound to lower yields.
Stan Szatrowski who farms near Simcoe Ontario said that conditions were the worst he has ever seen. He expects that his yields will be half of normal. As less supply comes to market the consumer as well as farmers will feel the pain as prices rise for food.
Corn crops are particularly vulnerable to drought conditions at this time as the rain helps pollination. The situation in the U.S. is even worse as reported by the USDA.
USDA last Monday dropped its estimate for U.S. corn good-to-excellent condition rating to 40 percent from the previous 48 percent...A report from climate experts on Thursday said the Midwest was in the grips of the worst drought in a quarter of a century.
The price of corn has been rising at a rapid rate, 30 per cent in the last few weeks. Szatrowski says that irrigation methods can keep his plants alive but that only when rain comes and brings nitrogen do they being to thrive again. Rain in the next few weeks is critical.
The drought is also felt in Quebec to the east as well as in Ontario. In Quebec apple growers are expecting below normal yields because of poor weather conditions with below normal rainfall and above normal heat. Production could be about 15 per cent less than 2011.
The Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotiai is a well known apple producing region. Apple producers there worry that thirty degree Celsius temperatures and dry conditions are putting a strain on irrigation ponds. Not every producer suffers from the hot dry conditions. Gina Haverstock one of the owners of Gasperau Vineyards expects that it will be a good grape growing season. Haverstock said."We're doing fine, we could use a little rain but grapevines are very deep rooted. We're okay when we have shorter snaps of dry weather."
The drought areas need periods of steady rain to revive. Unfortunately the hot weather often produces local heavy downpours and damaging winds which may not help much at all.
More about Canada, agriculture in Canada, drought conditions, Heat waves
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