Seeding in Alberta complete, forage growers struggle with dry weather

Alberta Crop Report: Conditions as of June 11

With the exception of a few feed crops, seeding is essentially finished in Alberta. Producers are actively spraying and scouting fields. Areas of concern vary from smoke and frost in the north to flea beetles and cutworms in other pockets of the province.

In the week ending June 11 there were rainfall events providing 15 mm or more moisture throughout the middle of the province, with the majority of the North East and the western portion of Central regions receiving in excess of 35mm of precipitation. Historically June is the wettest month for much of Alberta, the exception being the area north of Grande Prairie which receives more rainfall in July. We are now just less than two weeks into the wettest part of the season so there is still time to receive good moisture following the dry conditions that have prevailed this spring.

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In terms of surface soil moisture ratings the South region saw a downward shift while the Central, North East and North West realized a positive change as compared to last week.

Reports indicate that some producers are struggling with current forage conditions and others are hopeful that recent and forecasted rains will encourage growth. Pasture rated as poor is 25, fair 32, good 40 and excellent 3 per cent. Hay poor ratings are 15, fair 36, good 46 and excellent 3 per cent.

Region One: Southern (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost)

  • Seeding progress is complete.
  • Emergence on major crops is at 96 per cent which is ahead of the 5 and 10 year averages of 92 and 93 per
    cent respectively.
  • Canola in parts of the region has been reseeded due to cutworms and gophers.
  • Surface soil moisture ratings of good and excellent are 53 and sub-surface soil ratings are 38 per cent good
    and excellent.
  • Overall pasture rated as good and excellent is 46 per cent and hay ratings are 59. While counties in the west
    are in somewhat better condition, counties in the east are drier.

Region Two: Central (Rimbey, Airdrie, Coronation, Oyen)

  • Seeding progress is complete.
  • Emergence on major crops is at 96 per cent which is ahead of the 5 and 10 year averages of 88 and 89 per
    cent respectively.
  • Spraying is well underway and flea beetles are of particular concern.
  • Surface soil moisture ratings of good and excellent are 59 and sub-surface soil ratings are 46 per cent good
    and excellent. Recent rainfall touched the entire region which provided relief to all crops, but was not enough to
    penetrate the sub soil.
  • Overall pasture rated as good and excellent is 42 and hay ratings are 55 per cent. Grasses are heading out. If
    grasses are clipped or hayed and then receive moisture, producers could see a resurgence. Western portions of the region are doing better than the east.

Region Three: North East (Smoky Lake, Vermilion, Camrose, Provost)

  • Seeding progress is complete.
  • Emergence on major crops is at 93 per cent which is ahead of the 5 and 10 year averages of 83 and 84 per
    cent respectively.
  • Flea beetle damage continues in Lamont County.
  • Surface soil moisture ratings of good and excellent are 67 and sub-surface soil ratings are 66 per cent good or
    excellent.
  • Overall pasture rated as good and excellent is 35 per cent and hay ratings are 24. Much needed rain was
    recently received and improved forages. More moisture is needed to advance the crops.

Region Four: North West (Barrhead, Edmonton, Leduc, Drayton Valley, Athabasca)

  • Seeding progress is complete.
  • Emergence on major crops is at 98 per cent which is ahead of the 5 and 10 year averages of 81 and 83 per
    cent respectively.
  • Canola growth is slow likely due to previous cool temperatures and reports of uneven germination and flea
    beetle pressure.
  • Surface soil moisture ratings of good and excellent are 69 and sub-surface soil ratings are 66 per cent good and excellent.
  • Overall pasture rated as good is 53 and hay ratings are 54 per cent. Forage growth is delayed due to previous dry conditions and more moisture is required to promote growth.

Region Five: Peace River (Fairview, Falher, Grande Prairie, Valleyview)

  • Seeding progress is complete.
  • Emergence on major crops is at 97 per cent which is ahead of the 5 and 10 year averages of 77 and 80 per
    cent respectively.
  • Reports of frost in some areas have resulted in some reseeding. Continued wild fire smoke, cool temperatures
    and sparse rainfall are limiting crop progression.
  • Surface soil moisture ratings of good and excellent are 51 with 1.3 per cent excessive. Sub surface soil ratings
    are 71 per cent good or excellent.
  • Overall pasture rated as good and excellent is 43 and hay ratings are 47 per cent.

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