FREDERICTON -- Nova Scotia farmer Danny Dill is hoping for lots of rain in the coming weeks -- or his giant pumpkins, used to float contestants in Windsor's annual pumpkin regatta, may end up on the small side.

"It's bizarre, saying Nova Scotia and drought in the same sentence, doesn't sound right to me," Dill said.

Dill said he's been watering his crops, but the gourds -- which would normally tip the scale at 500 pounds by now -- are weighing in around just 200 pounds.

Dill said it's one of the longest dry spells he's seen, noting that ponds on his property have gone dry, but he said disaster could still be averted. The pumpkins could reach regatta size in time if they get enough rain.

"Once these giant pumpkins get to that 200- to 300-pound level, that's when they start putting on 20, 30 or 40 pounds a day," he said.

Dill usually supplies several dozen pumpkins for the October event in Windsor. People cut a hole in the side of a giant pumpkin, scrape out the inside, and then use it like a boat.

The summer has been so dry in Nova Scotia that the government took the rare step of banning hiking and camping in woods earlier this month in order to reduce the risk of wildfires. Firefighters were battling more than a dozen blazes at one point, and the largest of them consumed hundreds of hectares near Kejimkujik National Park.

Dry conditions are expected to take a toll on crop production elsewhere in the eastern half of the country. A Statistics Canada survey of crop projections suggests production of corn for grain is expected to drop almost nine per cent from last year to 12.3 million tonnes as Ontario, the largest producer in the country, has been hit by drought in many areas.

Soybean production in Ontario is also expected to be down by 6.5 per cent this year.

On the Prairies, significant rainfall in Saskatchewan in July contributed to a 4.2 per cent drop in lentil yields despite an increase of 37 per cent in harvested area.

Wheat production, on the other hand, is expected to come in at over 30 million tonnes for only the second time in 25 years, as yields increased 14.3 per cent.

David Phillips, senior climatologist for Environment Canada, said Canada has been a country of two climates this summer -- wet in the west and dry in the east.

He said that rather than the variable weather conditions we're used to in Canada, it seems entire regions were stuck in holding patterns.

"What we're seeing more and more, and it's very anecdotal -- it has not been proven statistically in a rigorous way -- but people are talking about when we get stuck in a pattern, it persists," he said.

He said the growing season in Alberta is the wettest it's been in 65 years, with 61 per cent more rain than usual between May and August.

"It's almost as if summer arrived for them after the first week of August," Phillips said, adding that it appears the weather patterns have begun to change.

Jason Verkaik of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association said his province has finally gotten some rain in the last two weeks.

"We do need this to keep happening. And maybe we had a two-week period where we received some nice rains and it took the edge off, but nobody's put any (irrigation) pumps away," he said.

Verkaik said the lack of moisture early in the season forced him to replant much of his carrot crop. He said reduced yields and the added costs involved with irrigation will cut into profits this year.

Verkaik said these kinds of extended periods of rain or drought make it difficult for farmers to plan what to plant in the following year and how to care for the crops.

"You just don't know. You just gotta respond to what you get day to day, week to week," he said. "Weather is the number one factor in farming."