No significant impact expected on winter wheat crop

By Trevor Terfloth, Chatham Daily News

A wind-swept winter wheat field is shown in Dover Township on Tuesday. (Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News)

A wind-swept winter wheat field is shown in Dover Township on Tuesday. (Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News)

From balmy temperatures in February, to a snowstorm in March, farmers have been keeping a close eye on the winter weather.

However, no significant impact is expected at this time on the winter wheat crop, said Ralph Brodie on Tuesday.

“The wheat has already started to grow and come out of its dormant stage,” the Chatham-area farmer said. “This isn't going to help it, being so cold, but the snow will protect it a little bit for awhile. Definitely the cold and the wind is hard on it.”

Brodie said the wheat will grow out when the warm weather hits the area.

As for the conditions, he has seen similar winters in Chatham-Kent in the past, albeit not recently.

“Every year's different. Every day's different,” Brodie said. “We're governed by the weather and everything else.

“We have to be at the right place at the right time, when the ground's ready and fit to work and plant.”

According to Environment Canada, temperatures are expected to reach -2 C on Wednesday, before warming up to slightly above the freezing mark later in the week.

On Monday, the high is expected to be 9 C, with a chance of showers.

“I think we were a little tricked into believing winter was over in the third week of February,” said Brandon Byrne, District 1 director for the Grain Farmers of Ontario.

He said farmers in the region are optimistic for the winter wheat crop.

“This is kind of the first hit of snow that we've gotten in awhile down our way,” he said. “Who really knows until we get to spring. We'll take a better look at things.”

Byrne said the standing water that was on the land in recent weeks shouldn't pose an issue.

“A lot of the fields, the water that was on them had already run off,” he said. “It wasn't that we were going to have freezing and things like that, with water on top of say the wheat crop.

“I think we're all looking forward to it officially being springtime, when we can rely on a little bit nicer weather than blowing snow that we've got down our ways.”