La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean this winter could indicate high Canadian wheat yields the following summer, according to a meteorologist speaking at the Grain World Conference in Winnipeg last week
Long-term weather conditions can be an inexact science. However, La Nina and El Nino conditions, which relate to Pacific Ocean surface-level water temperatures along the equator, are often directly linked to weather patterns in South America and Australia, said Mike Tannura, of T-storm Weather in Chicago. He said the Rocky Mountains make it more difficult to find direct linkages between La Nina/El Nino and weather conditions in the U. S. Midwest or Canadian Prairies.
Looking at the major North American crops over the past 50 years, Tannura attempted to find a correlation between La Nina conditions in the winter and yields the following summer.
In the U. S. he could find no correlation for corn, soybeans, or wheat. However, in Canada Tannura found that four of the five-best yielding years for wheat in Canada over the past 50 years, including 2008, came following strong La Nina conditions in January. As a result, he thought the chances of above-average Canadian wheat yields are higher when there is a La Nina.
However, La Nina conditions were also present prior to one of the five poorest yielding years for Canadian wheat, showing that there can be many other factors determining actual weather patterns.