wheat canada
© Reuters / Shaun BestCanadian wheat grows in a field near Teulon, Manitiba, July 26, 2006.

Winnipeg, Manitoba - Cool weather has pushed growth of Western Canada's wheat and barley crop at least 10 days behind schedule, the Canadian Wheat Board said on Monday.

"You're pushing development into a period with better likelihood of getting a (pre-harvest) frost," said Bruce Burnett, director of weather and market analysis for the Canadian Wheat Board. "It's not particularly what we need at this moment. It's just too cool."

There's little relief in forecasts for the Prairie region. Southern Manitoba, parts of which are still seeding, will have cool, wet weather through Wednesday, according to Environment Canada. Daily low temperatures of just above freezing are also forecast for much of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The Wheat Board, which has a government-granted marketing monopoly on Western Canada's wheat and barley, releases its planting and production estimates on Thursday.

Late-spring frost continued to strike the Prairie canola crop over the weekend. One pocket of western Manitoba dipped to -4 Celsius (25 Fahrenheit) overnight Sunday and stayed below freezing for much of the night, said Derwyn Hammond, senior agronomy specialist for the Canola Council of Canada.

Some farmers are considering reseeding, with crop insurance deadlines in the Manitoba areas hit by the most recent frost arriving as early as Wednesday.

"(They're getting) that feeling of urgency, that if I'm going to reseed, I need to do it," Hammond said. "But with cool temperatures it's tough to see if those plants are survivors or not. Based on past experience, a lot of times canola comes through better than you expect it to."

Burnett said he hasn't received reports of frost damage to cereal crops wheat, barley and oats.

Southern Alberta received some rain or snow over the weekend, which was welcome given its areas dryness, but the most parched areas in central Alberta and Saskatchewan stayed dry, Burnett said.