National Agroclimate Risk Report

As of June 4, 2024

This report provides timely information on the regional agroclimate conditions, risks, and impacts across Canada. Reports are produced every four weeks.

National Overview

The most significant climate-related agricultural risks this reporting period are severe drought conditions in British Columbia and northwestern Alberta.

In British Columbia, drought conditions continue to be severe and extensive in northern regions around Prince George and Dawson Creek. In Alberta, the most severe drought is in the Peace Region.

Drought conditions improved significantly across Western Canada in May.

Warmer than normal temperatures are forecast throughout the country, with the exception of British Columbia where temperatures are forecast to be below normal (compared to 1991-2020 averages).

Higher than average precipitation is forecast for Alberta in early June, while most other agricultural areas are forecast to receive lower than average precipitation. Although spring conditions have been favourable for crop development, adequate growing season precipitation will still be needed to realize crop yield potentials.

30 Day Precipitation Percentiles (May 4 to June 3, 2024)

Precipitation Percentiles in past 30 days, as of June 3, 2024, map of Canada.
 

Precipitation Percentiles in past 30 days, as of June 3, 2024, high-resolution image (5 MB JPG)  

Precipitation over the last 30 days has been near normal to above normal across most of the Prairie and Pacific regions. In Eastern Canada, below normal precipitation was received throughout much of Quebec and the Atlantic region, with the driest areas found in parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Canadian Drought Monitor (Conditions as of May 31, 2024)

Canadian Drought Monitor, conditions as of May 31, 2024, map of Canada.
 

Canadian Drought Monitor, conditions as of May 31, 2024, high-resolution image (5 MB JPG)

Significant spring precipitation through the southern Prairies has reduced drought severity and extent. While long-term (>1 year) precipitation deficits remain and soil moisture has not fully recovered in many regions, short term precipitation surpluses have improved surface soil moisture and water supplies through southern regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Below normal precipitation through northwestern Alberta and northern regions of British Columbia have resulted in continued Severe Drought conditions in these regions.

At the end of the May, 59% of the country’s agricultural landscape was classified as Abnormally Dry (D0) or Moderate to Exceptional Drought (D1 to D4), significantly improved from 75% last month.

Regional Conditions

  • British Columbia
    • May precipitation and temperatures were generally near normal across British Columbia. However, soil moisture in many parts of the province remains low, including the central and northeastern regions where severe drought concerns remain.
    • Extremely low snowpacks through the winter have provided little relief from last season’s drought conditions and have raised the concern for another severe drought and wildfire season. As of May 29, half of snowpack still remained, which is a significant improvement compared to only 18% remaining at the same time last year.
    • Spring rainfall has improved drought conditions across the southwestern portion of the province with provincial drought ratings, based primarily on stream flow, improving in several watersheds. In portions of the interior, heavy rainfall has increased the risk of flooding.
    • In the Okanagan region, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums are a total loss due to a cold snap in January. Significant losses are also expected for grapes and sweet cherries. Consecutive years of drought have resulted in fruit tree damage and mortality in some areas.
    • Wildfire conditions have greatly improved. There are currently 110 wildfires, with 2 of note. The number of fires is below the 20-year average, but well above average for area burned.
  • Alberta
    • In the past 30 days, showers across the province resulted in all regions receiving at least 20 mm of precipitation, with most areas receiving more than 50 mm. The southwest received the most rainfall recording 75 to 150 mm. The Peace region in the northwest received the least precipitation and remains in severe drought.
    • Cool wet weather has resulted in seeding delays. Provincial seeding is 77% complete, below the 5-year average of 84%.
    • Soil moisture reserves are recovering across most of the province with large parts of the southern region receiving more rainfall this past month than all of last year’s growing season.
    • Pastures across the province are improving after recent rains, with 70% rated good to excellent. All regional pasture and tame hay ratings continue to improve, except for the northwest.
  • Saskatchewan
    • Most of the province received above normal precipitation in May, along with near normal temperatures.
    • Cropland and pasture topsoil moisture continued to improve across the province with the recent rainfall. Topsoil moisture was rated as 92% adequate or surplus. However, subsoils remain dry as a legacy effect of consecutive drought years in west and central regions.
    • Although rainfall has delayed seeding progress, 77% was complete as of May 27, 14% behind the 5-year average. Rainfall related delays are most pronounced in the northeast. Crops have started to emerge and are looking excellent overall.
  • Manitoba
    • Recent rains over the past several weeks have improved soil moisture conditions across Manitoba, particularly in the central and southwest areas.
    • The majority of growing areas are showing optimal to wet soil moisture conditions.
    • Provincial seeding progress is about 64% complete. Producers have focused on planting corn (80% complete), spring wheat (87% complete) barley (79% complete) and peas (96% complete). Canola and soybeans are furthest behind at 41% and 55% complete respectively. Winter cereal stands are growing rapidly and tillering.
    • Warmer temperatures and recent precipitation have benefited hay and pastures. Grasses and forages have noticeable growth.
  • Ontario
    • The entire province received frequent rain events every 3 to 4 days in May. Some farmers in Perth, Bruce, Nipissing and Simcoe counties experienced frost, with damage reported in Nipissing. Some canola and soybean will need to be reseeded.
    • Corn planting is 60 to 80% complete, whereas soybean seeding is estimated at 40% complete. The winter wheat crop is developing ahead of schedule.
    • The warm and damp May weather was conducive to forage growth for hay and pastures. An above average hay crop is expected.
  • Quebec
    • Conditions were favourable throughout the period with average temperatures. Near normal precipitation was received in the west. Northern and eastern regions received significantly below normal precipitation in May.
    • Fall cereals are progressing and are in good conditions. Frost damage was reported in blueberry fields on the north coast. Strawberry harvest began earlier than normal due to warm spring conditions. Strong winds caused damage to emerging crops, while a tornado caused significant damage to infrastructure and a couple of farms in the southwest.
    • Conditions were favourable for forage development. The first cut of hay has begun. The Abitibi region is reporting below average winter survival of forage crops and significant precipitation is needed to sustain their regrowth.
  • Atlantic Region
    • Conditions have been dry and warm until recently, increasing fire risk. Recent precipitation, while variable, was welcomed in many areas.
    • Seeding and crop development overall are approximately 7 to 10 days ahead of normal. Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have completed 80% of potato planting. Seeding for small grains has been completed. Horticulture crops are also doing well.
    • Above normal temperatures in early May supported early forage growth. First cut forages are well underway. Yields are estimated to be good.

Forecast

  • The June forecast is for continued above normal temperatures across the country, particularly in Eastern Canada. The exception is British Columbia where temperatures are expected to be below normal, particularly in coastal areas and Vancouver Island. Above average precipitation is expected across much of British Columbia and portions of northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Well below normal precipitation is expected in agricultural areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan, with a higher confidence of this in southern portions of those provinces. In Eastern Canada, below normal precipitation is expected across most agricultural areas, particularly western portions of southern Ontario and western New Brunswick.
  • Persistence of warmer than normal temperatures could result in accelerated field work and seeding activities. Despite improved moisture conditions across much of Western Canada much of the region remains vulnerable to degrading drought conditions if sustained moisture is not received.

This report was created with help from our network of Agroclimate Impact Reporter volunteers. Each month, they help us report on current conditions and weather-related risks to Canada's agriculture sector. Join the network if you are interested in becoming an Agroclimate Impact Reporter.