Crop conditions creep near five-year average, soil moisture levels still a concern

Alberta Crop Report: Conditions as of June 25

Following a dry spring, most parts of the province have received at least 80 mm of precipitation over June and experienced a wetter weather pattern, with some fields receiving significantly more rain through thunderstorm activities. However, southern parts of Alberta remained dry and in need of rain. Moisture stress in the northern half of the Peace Region was alleviated for a short time, receiving rainfall from 20 to 50 mm, but more rain is needed.

As a result of recent rain, crop growing conditions improved provincially by five per cent to 71 per cent of crops now rated as good or excellent condition, near to the 5-year average of 72 per cent. Regionally, recent moisture benefited the North West Region the most, improving crop conditions by 14 per cent, followed by the Central and North East Regions, with six per cent improvement. Crop growing conditions in the Peace and Southern Regions improved by three and one per cent respectively. Compared to the regional 5-year averages, crop conditions are better than normal in the Central and North West Regions, close to normal in the North East, but remained poor in the Southern and Peace Regions.

Related Articles

cattle drinking water

Although the soil moisture reserves were reduced for the Southern Region and improved marginally in the Peace, provincial surface and sub-surface soil moisture reserves improved significantly from a week ago, by 14 and 11 per cent respectively. As of June 25, 2019, surface soil moisture for Alberta was rated at 11 (15) per cent poor, 25 (30) per cent fair, 54 (46) per cent good and 9 (8) per cent excellent, with 1 (0) per cent excessive.

Pasture and tame hay growth conditions benefited from recent precipitation and improved in all regions, except in the Southern Region. Although it was too late for older forage fields to recover with the last few weeks of moisture, more recently established fields have been recovering and are doing better. Compared to the prior week, both pasture and tame hay growth conditions improved provincially by seven per cent. Pasture growth conditions are now rated as 21 (13) per cent poor, 31 (33) per cent fair, 44 (50) per cent good and 4 (4) per cent excellent.

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

  • Spotty rain has been the dominant pattern in the region over the past week, but moisture was not enough to improve conditions. Irrigated crops are doing well. However, dryland crops in most parts of the region show signs of heat stress from dry conditions, with the exception for the western parts, which crops are growing at a steady pace.
  • Crop growing conditions improved slightly from a week ago to 57 per cent good to excellent. Most cereals are at the beginning of the booting stage of development.
  • Surface soil moisture reserves declined slightly by one per cent from a week ago. Sub-surface moisture remained unchanged and now is rated as 26 per cent poor, 45 per cent fair, 28 per cent good and one per cent excellent.
  • Pasture growing conditions (tame hay shown in parentheses) reported as 27 (17) per cent poor, 31 (33) per cent fair, 38 (46) per cent good and 4 (4) per cent excellent.

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

  • Moisture conditions for the majority of areas is good, contributing to improve crop growing conditions by six per cent from a week ago. More recently established forage fields also benefited from rain, but it was likely a little late to improve older forage fields’ conditions.
  • Cooler weather slowed crop progress, but development is still not behind the normal. Most cereals just started the stem elongation stage of development. Warmer temperatures are appreciated in the region to promote active crop growth.
  • Surface and sub-surface soil moisture reserves improved by 26 and 22 per cent, respectively, from a week ago. Sub-surface soil moisture is rated as 17 per cent poor, 22 per cent fair, 59 per cent good and two per cent excellent.
  • Pasture growing conditions (tame hay shown in parentheses) reported as 25 (18) per cent poor, 25 (21) per cent fair, 48 (61) per cent good and 2 (0) per cent excellent.

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

  • Recent rainfall improved soil moisture, crop growing conditions and some pasture and tame hay fields. Crops mainly look good, but need some warmer, sunny weather for active growth. Some yellowing of crops from excess moisture in low areas has been reported.
  • While most spring wheat in the region are at the beginning of the stem elongation stage of development, barley and oats are still in the tillering stage.
  • Surface and Sub-surface soil moisture reserves improved by 24 and 12 per cent, respectively from a week ago. Sub-surface soil moisture is now rated as eight per cent poor, 21 per cent fair, 44 per cent good and 26 per cent excellent, with one per cent excessive.
  • Pasture growing conditions (tame hay shown in parentheses) reported as 14 (17) per cent poor, 40 (48) per cent fair, 40 (32) per cent good and 6 (3) per cent excellent.

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

  • Recent rain and warm weather have been ideal for all crops. It also improved pasture and tame hay growing conditions, especially in more recently established fields.
  • Cereals are actively growing, mostly in the stem elongation stage of development. Canola development is behind in some areas, while it is improving for others.
  • Surface and Sub-surface soil moisture reserves improved by 19 and 22 per cent, respectively from a week ago. Sub-surface soil moisture is now rated as one per cent poor, 24 per cent fair, 72 per cent good and three per cent excellent.
  • Pasture growing conditions reported as one per cent poor, 22 per cent fair, 68 per cent good and nine per cent excellent, with similar ratings for tame hay.

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

  • Most areas in the region have received good rain, while in some other areas, it was only scattered showers. Although, surface soil moisture improved noticeably for the region, rain was not enough to penetrate and improve the sub-surface moisture. Growing conditions for crops have started to improve, and will improve further with more rain in the forecast. In a few counties in the northern parts of the region, smoke from wildfires is still an issue. Cereals are mostly in the tillering stage of development.
  • Surface and sub-surface soil moisture reserves improved by 10 and one per cent respectively from a week ago. Sub-surface soil moisture is now rated as six per cent poor, 26 per cent fair, 48 per cent good and 19 per cent excellent, with one per cent excessive.
  • Pasture growing conditions (tame hay shown in parentheses) reported as 13 (10) per cent poor, 47 (49) per cent fair, 36 (38) per cent good and 4 (3) per cent excellent.

About the author

Comments

explore

Stories from our other publications