Canada: Prince Edward Island hopes for more consistent temperatures

With cold weather across P.E.I. - following recent milder temperatures - there are Island farmers who are concerned about how changing temperatures will affect their crops. Frank McCardle, who grows cash crops at his farm in Middleton, said: "If this pattern continues, it's hard on the crops that have to overwinter freezing and thawing, and we can't seem to break out of it.

McCardle specifically pointed to his winter wheat, which already showed some signs of frost damage. He called it one of the worst years for freezing and thawing that he's seen in a while. "We always see some of it on P.E.I., but not on a consistent basis. This has basically been our winter so far, a stretch of real cold weather and then real warm weather," he said.

Matthew Compton, with a berry farm in Summerside, is also concerned about the fluctuating temperatures and potential damage to his strawberries. "It's the worst thing you could have for a crop that overwinters, especially strawberries. They're really sensitive to thawing and freezing. According to an article by www.cbc.ca, he said he a lower yield of strawberries than usual last year, and he saw signs of damage from a similar freeze-thaw cycle. He said he's anticipating seeing some damage again this year.

"When we have a few hot days, strawberries can potentially come out of dormancy, or hibernation, and they can start the regrowth. And then you get a real cold spell and they'll just die off. That's what we call winter kill."

Compton and McCardle are both concerned about their crops, but neither will know if the crops have been damaged and the extent of it until the spring.


Publication date: 2/9/2018


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