Willamette Valley seed producers have endured yet another cold and wet spring. Seed growers are now looking forward to the pleasant dry and warm summer weather that area is well known for to aid in harvest and other field operations. This spring’s weather was both colder and wetter than the long-term averages for the locale. And this combination of cold and wet weather in spring is part of a trend that has been evident for the past four years.
One question that is on the minds of seed producers is how much has the cold weather set crops back? Over the 123 years of weather records at Corvallis, there has been only 15 times that the month of March has been colder than we experienced in March 2012. Cold spring weather has been a phenomenon that’s been observed here in the Willamette Valley over the past few years (Fig.1). This cold weather was accompanied by near record wet conditions (Fig. 2).
One of the most often heard comments (or complaints) so far this spring has been about how cold and wet it has been. Has this spring’s weather been as cold and wet as it seems? The answer is yes! Compared to the long term averages for Corvallis, April temperatures would have been roughly normal for the month of March (Fig 1 – click on figure to enlarge). But it does not stop there as May was only a bit warmer than the average April. Moreover, this year’s spring weather is part of a trend. The past four springs have been colder than normal (2007-08 crop year data not shown).