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April snow brings May snow

You might have noticed something awful this weekend. Something really, truly terrible: snow.

How do cold, wet conditions like those this weekend affect crop growth? Farmers have already been out planting across the province for a few weeks, but they’re nowhere near done yet.

Ideally, spring planting goes most smoothly when the ground is warm, there’s some warm rain, and the weather stays… warm. These are ideal conditions for stimulating plant growth. So far, 2016 has been the exact opposite: farmers have had to plant into cool soil and there hasn’t really been a warm spring rain. Worse yet, this past weekend’s snow and ice pellets pounded down on crops that are just emerging (or have yet to emerge).

A lot of the crops that were planted haven’t emerged yet; thankfully, that means the crop foliage wasn’t threatened by the frost and freezing temperatures like it was last year. However, the longer the seed sits in the cool soil, the more chance of the seed being attacked by disease and insects, which causes a significant decrease in viable, productive seed.

What farmers are looking to now is for mother nature to send some warmer weather to help get Ontario’s crops off to a good start.