Understanding the connection between crops and weather

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One doesn’t have to be a farmer to understand that the 2019 crop season has been an unseasonably wet and cool one in the Chatham-Kent area. Fields have lay fallow for much longer than usual.

By the end of June, many soybean fields have still not been planted.

Corn in most parts of Chatham-Kent were planted a month or so later than normal and we won’t even talk about the unusually high amount of drowned out, tile run, and subsequently sprayed off winter wheat fields.

Let’s have a look at the data collected by Weather Innovations for a couple sample locations throughout Chatham-Kent. Unsurprisingly, Chatham was quite a bit wetter than normal this growing season when compared to the 30-year normal as residents around the city received 173 per cent of the normal precipitation in April, 132 per cent in May and 101 per cent in June.

Chatham was a bit warmer in April, as it was 110 per cent of the 30-year normal for Crop Heat Units (CHU) but cooler in May and June at 88 per cent and 89 per cent, which are the normal CHUs for the area.


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Ridgetown rainfall for April was 148 per cent of the normal for April, 136 per cent for May and 124 per cent for June.

Meanwhile, CHUs for Ridgetown were quite a bit lower than normal, sitting at 100 per cent, 85 per cent and 89 per cent respectively for April, May and June.

If we look to Tilbury, the precipitation was again well above the 30-year normal as April saw 145 per cent of the normal, May 107 per cent and June 97 per cent. CHUs were higher than normal for April at 123 per cent of the normal and then below normal for both May and June at 91 per cent and 92 per cent respectively.

In Wallaceburg, we see that April was very wet at 173 per cent of precipitation compared to the normal, May 131 per cent and June 94 per cent. April was warmer at 141 per cent CHUs, when compared to the normal, but May and June were cooler at 89 per cent and 90 per cent respectively.

As the numbers show, it was an overall wet and cool first three months of the growing season for farmers in Chatham-Kent. Here’s hoping for a drier, warmer next three months albeit with some timely rains!

If you are curious about a more site specific analysis of the weather, feel free to create your own account on Weather Innovations website www.4rcast.com – it’s free!

Daryl Vermey was born and raised on a farrow to finish, cash crop family farm just outside of Blenheim, and has worked in many capacities in the Canadian agricultural industry for both non-profit and for profit companies.

Feel free to reach out to him via email at dvermey@gmail.com

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