Environment Canada is predicting a warmer and drier start to November and the pig spleen agrees with that assessment.
Wade Gilbertson from Parkside, about an hour-and-a-half north of Saskatoon, examined the spleens from three outdoor pigs. He has been honing his skills for 24 years and claims a 75 per cent accuracy rate, but adds it has been even better over the last three years.
Gilbertson is forecasting above normal temperatures for November and most of December.
"It looks promising from the aspect of maybe getting some of this crop off and some fall work done because we have been lacking sunlight (in October)."
Snowfall during November and December is expected to be average to below average.
The rest of the winter is less optimistic with below average temperatures from late December to the middle of February.
"Last winter, we didn't get temperatures in that minus 30 range even with the windchill. This year, we are going to see a lot of colder weather like that---temperatures in the minus 20's and 30's."
The spleen calls for variable conditions for the rest of the winter with a major precipitation event near the end of April.
"I'm not too sure if it is going to be just snow or rain, but it seems like we are going to have one of those awful winter storms in the spring."
Gilbertson notes his forecast only covers a 200 kilometre radius from where the pigs lived.
Even though only a handful of people read pig spleens to predict long term weather, it used to be much more common during the days of much smaller farms that raised pigs.
"Outdoor pigs tend to put on a lot of fat and condition themselves for winter months. The old timers had lots of them around in their pens and that was one way that they could tell what was coming over the winter months."
Here is a summarized version of Gilbertson's written forecast provided to CJWW's Moo Crew with Rod and Dave:
This winter season is going to see us start off pretty good.
The November and December months begin average to above average temperatures. I would say on the above average temperature for these two months. The snowfall will be just average to below normal snow fall for these two months.
It will start getting colder at the end of December with January being average to below average in temperature. This will carry on until the middle of February when it will warm up for a short time with a significant snow fall.
The end of February into the beginning of March will be cold again with average to below average temperatures.Then there will be snow in the middle of March again with normal temperatures.
It is going to get cold again at the end of March in to the beginning of April. Then it will start to warm up about the middle of April but then a winter or spring storm for the end of April.
Spring will come after the storm with average temperatures.