Crops will need soil moisture to fight extreme heat

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

There’s no doubt that the heat forecasted for this week will have adverse effects on crops throughout the Prairies, but the full extent of how badly crops are injured will depend largely on soil moisture reserves.

“Things are not looking too good heading into this week,” said Jeremy Boychyn, agronomy extension specialist with Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions, recently on RealAg Radio. At temperatures as high as 36 and 37 degrees C and even 39 degrees C forecasted for some areas — crop growth will stop.

For crops that do have a bit of soil moisture, they may be able to fight this heat a bit by pulling some moisture through the plant and out the leaves.

When temperatures are this high, the leaf temperature is going to be higher than the ambient temperature, in which case the plant uses transpiration and pulls moisture through the plant which evaporates through the leaves, helping to cool the plant and decreasing damage, said Boychyn.

“It’s going to be a rough time, so hopefully we get some thunderstorms to help provide some rainfall,” added Boychyn.

Tune in to Monday’s RealAg Radio show here to listen to the full discussion!

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