Crop development varies across Alberta

Alberta Crop Report: Conditions as of July 16

Cooler than normal temperatures have prevailed in the past month across most of Alberta resulting in a slight setback of approximately a week for many fields. Combined with the dry conditions throughout the South, East and Peace regions and higher than normal precipitation along the foothills and North West region, the crop conditions and staging are highly variable this year. Provincially, good and excellent conditions ratings for all crops is 4 points above the five year average of 66 per cent. This is a result of Central and North West regions being significantly above the five year average offsetting the South and Peace regions that are currently rated below the five year average ratings for good and excellent condition (Table 1 below).

Source: AF/AFSC Crop Reporting Survey

Pasture and Tame Hay growth is rather motley relative to the weather conditions experienced in the different areas. Reports indicate haying operations have been delayed in many areas due to the continued showers, with some hay in the swath suffering from rot, and the standing hay will start to decline in quality if producers are not able to swath soon. Currently dryland haying is 22 per cent complete (5 and 10 year averages of 53 and 42 per cent respectively). Early dryland yield estimates have 1.2 ton per acre (5 and 10 year averages of 1.4 and 1.5 ton per acre respectively), with good and excellent condition ratings of 55 per cent (5 and 10 year averages of 75 and 74 per cent). Irrigated hay is 74 per cent completed (5 and 10 year averages of 81 and 68 per cent), with yield estimates of 2.1 ton per acre (2.4 ton per acre is both the 5 and 10 year averages) and good and excellent condition ratings of 79 per cent (88 and 83 per cent for 5 and 10 year averages respectively).

Sub-surface soil moisture conditions saw little change in the South and Peace regions over the past two weeks while the other regions ratings improved. The excellent ratings moved up 8 points, good and fair decreased by 3 and poor ratings improved slightly (Table 2 below). Surface soil moisture ratings followed the same pattern as sub-surface, with Central region seeing a movement from poor and fair up into the good and excellent ratings.

Source: AF/AFSC Crop Reporting Survey

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

  • Overall crop conditions are 10 per cent behind the five year average of 64 per cent good and excellent. Condition ratings for Sugar Beets are 86 per cent and Dry Beans at 75 per cent good or excellent. Crops to the east need more rainfall to fill heads and pods, while the foothills are looking for heat.
  • Spring cereals are predominantly in the flowering stages as are over 80 per cent of Canola, Mustard, Lentils and Chickpeas. Field peas are reported as having almost 30 per cent in podding stage, with the remainder still in flowering at this time.
  • Tame pasture is currently rated at 25 per cent poor, 34 per cent fair 37 per cent good and 4 per cent excellent. Conditions along the foothills are far superior to the eastern areas due to increased rainfall.
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  • 1st cut dryland hay is reported as 66 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1 ton per acre and quality rated as 60 per cent good and excellent. Irrigated hay is 85 per cent completed with estimates of 2.1 ton per acre yields and 78 per cent rated as good and excellent. The wetter areas to the west are waiting on drier conditions to proceed with haying operations.
  • Soil moisture ratings are currently estimated as 45 per cent good and excellent for surface and 33 per cent good and excellent for sub-surface.

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

  • Overall crop conditions are 22 per cent ahead of the five year average of 60 per cent good and excellent.
  • Spring cereals are predominantly in the head emergence stages while well over 75 per cent of Canola,
    Mustard, Field Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas are flowering.
  • Tame pasture is currently rated at 22 per cent poor, 23 per cent fair, 50 per cent good and 5 per cent excellent.
  • 1st cut dryland hay is reported as 13 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.3 ton per acre and quality
    rated as 27 per cent good and no excellent. Irrigated hay is 2 per cent completed with estimates of 2.2 ton per acre yields and 80 per cent rated as good and no excellent. Continued showers are stalling harvest.
  • Soil moisture ratings are currently estimated as 92 per cent good and excellent with 2 per cent excessive for surface and 77 per cent good and excellent for sub-surface.

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

  • The area has experienced ample rainfall with the exception of Provost and the M.D. of Wainwright that have been touched by spotty rains in varying amounts. Overall crop conditions are 8 per cent ahead of the five year average of 75 per cent good and excellent.
  • Spring cereals are predominantly in the head emergence stages while 81 per cent of Canola is flowering and Field Peas are 31 per cent into podding.
  • Tame pasture is currently rated at 3 per cent poor, 13 per cent fair, 77 per cent good and 7 per cent excellent.
  • 1st cut dryland hay is reported as 3 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.1 ton per acre and quality
    rated as 77 per cent good and excellent. Weather is preventing haying operations in this region also.
  • Soil moisture ratings are currently estimated as 94 per cent good and excellent with 2 per cent excessive for
    surface and 92 per cent good and excellent with 1 per cent excessive for sub-surface.

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

  • Overall crop conditions are 17 per cent ahead of the five year average of 66 per cent good and excellent.
  • Spring cereals are predominantly in the head emergence stages while 92 per cent of Canola is flowering and
    Field Peas are 14 per cent into podding.
  • Tame pasture is currently rated at 0 per cent poor, 5 per cent fair, 85 per cent good and 10 per cent excellent.
  • 1st cut dryland hay is reported as 6 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.5 ton per acre and quality
    rated as 64 per cent good and excellent. Precipitation is holding up the haying process.
  • Soil moisture ratings are currently estimated as 95 per cent good and excellent with 5 per cent excessive for
    surface and 93 per cent good and excellent with 1 per cent excessive for sub-surface.

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

  • Overall crop conditions are 11 per cent behind the five year average of 62 per cent good and excellent.
  • Spring cereals are predominantly in the head emergence stages while 84 per cent of Canola and 71 per cent of
    Field Peas are flowering.
  • Tame pasture is currently rated at 8 per cent poor, 43 per cent fair, 41 per cent good and 8 per cent excellent.
  • 1st cut dryland hay is reported as 18 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.5 ton per acre and quality
    rated as 78 per cent good and excellent.
  • Soil moisture ratings are currently estimated as 58 per cent good and excellent with 6 per cent excessive for
    surface and 66 per cent good and excellent with 2 per cent excessive for sub-surface.

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