August was warmer, dryer

The last month of summer proved to be a little warmer and a little less rainy than normal.

The last month of summer proved to be a little warmer and a little less rainy than normal.

Environment Canada reports that August wasn’t too far off the mark when it came to temperatures and precipitation.

Red Deer received a total of 67.6 mm of rain. Eleven days saw rain.

Ross Macdonald, meteorologist for Environment Canada, said that climate data of the last 30 years shows that Red Deer would on average receive 71.1 mm of rain in August.

Typically, Red Deer sees 14 days of rain in August, Macdonald added.

When it comes to temperatures, Red Deer was slightly warmer than average this August.

The maximum high in August was 23.8C. The average high was 21.9 C.

“We were about two degrees warmer than normal,” said Macdonald.

The average overnight low last month was 9.4C, whereas the average low over the last 30 years is 8.8C.

Out in Stettler, the precipitation totals were slightly over.

“They are a little less than Red Deer, but typically in the summertime we see rain showers and thunder showers that come across,” said Macdonald. “So sometimes areas can receive more localized amounts if a thunderstorm moves over top.”

Stettler received 43.2 mm of rain last month. On average, the community had 11 days of rain in August.

Harry Brook, crop specialist with the Ag-Info Centre in Stettler, said that this season’s crops are proving to be a bit of a disappointment in Central Alberta.

“We had such humidity over the summer that disease took a much bigger bite out of the yield than we expected,” said Brook. “The barley crops … everything looked like they were going to have a bumper year.”

Some of the early yields coming back are showing that this might be an average year, Brook said.

Farmers in the Stettler area, as well as other areas of Central Alberta and farther northeast, are reporting more occurrences of fungal diseases.

“The disease levels are far higher than we expected and even if you spray, there’s still disease out there,” said Brook. Lots of moisture and lots of heat in combination with a short crop rotation makes this season ripe for disease, Brook said.

One of the diseases, clubroot, is becoming a problem with canola crops.

It’s a serious disease that affects the roots of canola, as well as other field crops like mustard. It also hits vegetable crops like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Two more counties have clubroot now — Beaver County and County of Stettler. Clubroot was added as a declared pest to the Agricultural Pests Act in April 2007. Among other areas reporting a lot of clubroot is Lacombe County, said Brook.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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