Wet weather slows harvest progress across Alberta

Alberta Crop Report: Conditions as of September 10

Wet weather late last week has slowed down harvesting in most areas across the province and particularly in the North East and North West Regions. Precipitation has been variable, ranging from less than 5 mm in some parts of the Peace Region, to 30-40 mm in the North East and more than 40 mm in most parts of the North West Region. In the Southern Region, most areas received at least 20 mm of rain that was welcomed, although it did impact harvest progress.

Provincially, about 16 per cent of all crops have been combined, compared to 17 per cent a year ago and the 5-year (2014- 2018) average of 23 per cent. When compared to the 5-year averages, harvest progress is behind in all regions, with the exception of the Southern Region that is on par. The delay in harvest progress is attributed to generally below normal temperatures for a large part of the province, especially, in the North East, North West and Central Regions. Most of the areas in these regions are estimated to be at least one week behind normal growth, with some parts at least two weeks behind. Warm, dry weather is needed over the next several weeks to allow for timely harvest progress.

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In general, there will be limited second cut hay this year, given the dry conditions in the southern parts of the province and wet, cool conditions in the rest. Although there is the potential for second cut in some fields, inclement weather has prevented any baling. Some producers are still finishing their first cut. Currently, for those producers with second cut hay, it is 14 per cent complete for dryland and 67 per cent on irrigation. Preliminary average yield on dryland is estimated at 1.5 ton per acre, with quality rated at 53 per cent fair and 47 per cent good. For irrigated hay, average yield is reported at 1.8 tons per acre, with quality rated as 22 per cent poor to fair, 50 per cent good and 28 per cent excellent.

Estimated provincial dryland yield indices slightly dropped from two weeks ago and are now three and five per cent, respectively, above the 5-year and 10-year averages. Yields for the Central, North East and Peace Regions are 17 per cent, 12 per cent and nine per cent, respectively above the 5-year averages. For the Southern and Peace Regions, it was 15 per cent and 14 per cent below. Average yield for potatoes are estimated at 10.5 and 15.7 tons per acre, respectively, on dryland and irrigated fields. For sugar beets, the average yield is reported at 27.4 tons per acre, while for dry beans it is 26 hundred weight per acre.

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

  • Although precipitation over the last weekend hindered harvest progress, producers were able to combine an additional nine per cent of their major crops from a week ago. Some producers are considering straight cut combining for canola.
  • About 45 per cent of all crops are still standing (compared to the 5-year average of 40 per cent), 12 per cent have been swathed and 43 per cent combined.
  • Crop quality for malt barley, the top two grades of spring wheat, durum wheat, oats, canola and dry peas are all above their provincial 5-year averages, but below average for barley number one and canola number one. For dry peas, about 38 per cent is graded as number one, 46 per cent as number two, 12 per cent as number three and 4 per cent as feed.
  • Second cut hay are 78 per cent complete on irrigated land, with yield reported at 1.8 tons per acre and quality rated as 78 per cent good to excellent. There is no second cut for dryland hay, due to dry conditions.
  • Pasture conditions are reported as 24 per cent poor, 40 per cent fair, 32 per cent good and four per cent excellent.

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

  • Although rain showers halted harvest operations in most areas over the weekend, harvest is now resuming. Since last week, producers were able to combine an additional five per cent of their major crops. Haying operations and the baling of crops (particularly for damaged cereals by hail) are underway.
  • Overall, about 83 per cent of all crops are still standing (compared to the 5-year average of 63 per cent), with eight per cent swathed and nine per cent in the bin.
  • Quality for harvested crops so far in the region is above the provincial 5-year averages, with the exception for barley number one, which is below. For dry peas, about 39 per cent is graded as number one, 41 per cent as number two, 19 per cent as number three and about one per cent as feed.
  • Second cut hay is 32 per cent complete for dryland, with average yield estimated at 1.8 ton per acre and quality rated as 49 per cent fair and 51 per cent good.
  • Pasture growth conditions are rated as 23 per cent poor, 41 per cent fair and 36 per cent good.

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

  • Poor weather over the last week allowed for about two per cent of major crops to be harvested. Added to this, is the fact that crops are slowly maturing and behind their normal stage of development.
  • About 83 per cent of all crops are standing (compared to the 5-year average of 55 per cent), with 14 per cent swathed and three per cent harvested. About 49 per cent of dry peas, 78 per cent of winter wheat, 75 per cent of fall rye and two per cent of barley are now in the bin. Almost 23 per cent of canola has been swathed.
  • There are some concerns for dry peas, including molding, rotting and small-pea size. Nearly 46 per cent of harvested dry peas is graded as number two, 29 per cent as number three and about 25 per cent as feed.
  • There is no second cut hay in the region.
  • Pasture conditions are rated as two per cent poor, 18 per cent fair, 48 per cent good and 32 per cent excellent.

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

  • Harvest progress was slow over the past week with only two per cent of major crops taken off. Then rain activities over the weekend halted harvest operations in most parts of the region.
  • Overall, 92 per cent of crops are still standing (compared to the 5-year average of 73 per cent), six per cent in swath and two per cent harvested. About 35 per cent of dry peas, 15 per cent of potatoes and two per cent of barley are now in the bin, with 13 per cent of canola swathed.
  • The quality for harvested crops in the region is below their provincial 5-year averages. About 38 per cent of harvested barley is graded as number one and 56 per cent as number two, with no barley eligible for malt. For dry peas, about 11 per cent is graded as number two, 56 per cent as number three and 33 per cent as feed.
  • For some fields, there are still first cut hay to be completed and second cut hay will be very limited.
  • Pasture growth conditions are rated as 17 per cent fair, 63 per cent good and 20 per cent excellent.

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

  • Precipitation over the last week has been mostly very light, slowing down harvest progress in some fields. Over the past week, producers have combined an additional three per cent of their crops.
  • Overall, 88 per cent of crops are still standing (compared to the 5-year average of 58 per cent), eight per cent in swath and four per cent harvested. About 22 per cent of dry peas, five per cent of barley, two per cent of oats and three per cent of spring wheat are now in the bin, with 15 per cent of canola swathed.
  • The quality for harvested crops in the region is above the provincial 5-year averages, except for dry peas. About nine per cent of dry peas is graded as number one, 84 per cent as number two and seven per cent as number three.
  • Pasture growth conditions are rated as 6 per cent poor, 39 per cent fair, 46 per cent good and nine per cent excellent.

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