While many might be welcoming the milder temperatures, there are large concerns of drought in the months ahead, especially for producers in southeastern Saskatchewan.
According to Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, a less predictable climate means a less stable system.
“One of the things we look for is fall rain to recharge pasture areas and help those grasses develop root systems and really bulk up for the coming season,” said agro-climate specialist Trevor Hadwen. “Without the fall precipitation, we are expecting pastures to be a little behind in the spring and not be as productive as normal.”
Normally the province expects a fair bit of precipitation in the winter, but Hadwen noted that is changing.
“Farmers are going to have to adapt and be adaptive,” said Hadwen.
With the above normal temperatures, there is an increase in evaporation and a loss of snow packs, which are needed to replenish surface sources of water and dugouts.
“Moisture we would rely on during the winter period — locked up in snow — is starting to disappear and that’s concerning when we move into spring, said Hadwen. “In a dry situation, it won’t be there for run off or infiltration.”
Despite the changes in the season, this far from abnormal for prairie farmers.
Instead, producers continue to be resilient and maximize what they can. Land management is one of the ways farmers adapt, however, it’s not easy to make up for precipitation.
“We are growing better and better crops with less and less water. Rangeland management has changed quite a bit as well,” said Hadwen. “Overall, it’s pretty hard to replace just a good rain event.”