Excessive moisture causing crops to degrade in central Alberta

Alberta Crop Report: Conditions as of July 29

Since the last report crops in some central regions are beginning to degrade due to excessive rainfall. The effect varies substantially depending on location, topography and soil type. Hay operations have been extremely difficult in the same areas and the chance of a second cut is greatly diminished due to the late first cut. Producers are hoping for a break in the weather to allow for drying as these wet field conditions are preventing hay harvest and crop development. In comparison, the South region still has moderately low to very low precipitation leading to rapidly maturing crops and reported estimates of reduced yields. Currently South region dryland yields for major crops are at 87 per cent of the five-year index and 83 per cent of the ten-year (see table 2 below). The predominantly green map areas in the Central demonstrate strong crop yield potential, but intense storm cells have gone through the region causing severe crop damage as well as powerful winds completely blowing hay swaths away leaving nothing to bale. Peace region exhibits both extremes, from too dry to overly wet, with pasture, hay and crop conditions and yields reflecting the diverse elements.

Source AF/AFSC Crop Reporting Survey.

Crop conditions as a whole are estimated at 68 per cent good and excellent. The Northwest and South region are below the five-year average. The Northeast and Peace are somewhat higher. The Central region is a significant 20 points higher than the five-year average (see table 1 below).

Source AF/AFSC Crop Reporting Survey.

The current provincial averages for surface soil moisture ratings of poor are at 9, fair 22, good 43, excellent 18 and excessive is now at 8 per cent. Two weeks ago poor ratings were 7, fair 18, good 56, excellent 17 and excessive at 2 per cent. These numbers are skewed by the considerable fluctuation in environment across the province. The majority of the surface soil moisture ratings in the South region are 63 per cent poor and fair, in contrast Central ratings are 71 per cent good and excellent. The Northeast region’s ratings are 80 per cent good and excellent, but are also experiencing 17 per cent excessive surface soil moisture.

The Northwest region’s good and excellent ratings are at 65 per cent with a high percentage of the ratings reported as excessive, coming in at 35 per cent. Peace region ratings are 72 per cent good or excellent with 6 per cent estimated as excessive.

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

  • Overall crop conditions are 4 per cent behind the five-year average of 55 per cent good and excellent. Condition ratings for Sugar Beets are 87 per cent and Dry Beans at 69 per cent good or excellent.
  • Crop stages for spring cereals are late milk while fall seeded cereals are just starting the ripening stage. Oilseed and pulse crops are over 70 per cent podding.
  • Irrigated crop estimated yields for Major Crops are 77 bushels per acre on spring wheat, durum is 81 bushels, barley at 97 bushels, and canola is 55 bushels with dry peas at 53 bushels per acre.
  • Tame pasture is currently rated at 28 per cent poor, 34 per cent fair, 35 per cent good and 4 per cent excellent.
  • 1st cut dryland hay is reported as 95 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1 ton per acre and quality
    rated as 52 per cent good and excellent. Irrigated hay is 95 per cent completed with estimates of 2.1 ton per acre yields, and 72 per cent rated as good and excellent. Second cut of irrigated hay is 18 complete with 1.7 ton per acre yield estimates and quality ratings are at 86 per cent good or excellent.
  • Soil moisture ratings are currently estimated as 37 per cent good and excellent for surface and 30 per cent good and excellent for sub-surface.

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

  • Overall crop conditions are 20 per cent ahead of the five-year average of 58 per cent good and excellent.
  • Crop stages for spring cereals are mid to late flower while fall seeded cereals are in early dough stage. Oilseed
    and pulse crops are quite variable with canola only 27 per cent podding, peas, lentils and chickpeas ranging
    from 60 to 70 per cent podding and mustard at 60 per cent podding.
  • Irrigated crop estimated yields for Major Crops are 75 bushels per acre on spring wheat, barley at 100 bushels
    and canola 70 bushels per acre.
  • Tame pasture is currently rated at 35 per cent poor, 19 per cent fair, 45 per cent good and 1 per cent excellent.
  • 1st cut dryland hay is reported as 42 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.3 ton per acre, and quality
    rated as 58 per cent good and excellent. Irrigated hay is 45 per cent completed with estimates of 2.4 ton per
    acre yields, and 75 per cent rated as good and excellent.
  • Soil moisture ratings are currently estimated as 71 per cent good and excellent for surface, and 76 per cent
    good and excellent for sub-surface.

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

  • Overall crop conditions are 10 per cent ahead of the five-year average of 75 per cent good and excellent.
  • Crop stages for spring cereals are flowering while fall seeded cereals are in early dough stage. Canola is
    currently estimated as 56 per cent, and field peas are over 88 per cent, podding.
  • Tame pasture is currently rated at 2 per cent poor, 11 per cent fair, 54 per cent good and 33 per cent excellent.
  • 1st cut dryland hay is reported as 18 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.6 ton per acre and quality
    rated at a low 24 per cent good and excellent.
  • Soil moisture ratings are currently estimated and at 80 per cent good and excellent, with 17 per cent excessive,
    for surface and 97 per cent good and excellent for sub-surface.

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

  • Overall crop conditions are 11 per cent behind the five-year average of 66 per cent good and excellent.
  • Crop stages for spring cereals are late flowering, while canola is 34 and peas 55 per cent podding.
  • Tame pasture is currently rated at 10 per cent fair, 51 per cent good and 39 per cent excellent.
  • 1st cut dryland hay is reported as 15 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.6 ton per acre and quality
    rated as 34 per cent poor, 56 per cent fair, and 10 per cent good and excellent.
  • Soil moisture ratings are currently estimated as 13 per cent good, 53 excellent and 34 excessive for surface,
    with 24 per cent good, 74 percent excellent and 2 per cent excessive for sub-surface.

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

  • Overall crop conditions are 6 per cent ahead of the five-year average of 60 per cent good and excellent.
  • Crop stages for spring cereals are late flowering stage. Canola is 97 per cent flowering while peas are 28 per
    cent podding.
  • Tame pasture is currently rated at 7 per cent poor, 39 per cent fair, 46 per cent good and 8 per cent excellent.
  • 1st cut dryland hay is reported as 37 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.3 ton per acre and quality
    rated as 61 per cent good and excellent.
  • Soil moisture ratings are currently estimated as 3 per cent poor, fair is 19 per cent, 60 per cent is good,12
    excellent with 6 per cent excessive for surface and 6 per cent poor, 21 per cent fair, 55 per cent good and 16 excellent with 2 per cent excessive for sub-surface.

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