Harvest restarts in Alberta, late progress seen in all regions

Alberta Crop Report: Conditions as of September 17

Harvest operations have resumed in most parts of the province, thanks to warmer and windy conditions. However, progress has been slow, due to some shower activities bringing from less than one mm of rain in the eastern and southern parts of the province to upwards of 30 mm in some areas in the Peace Region. Producers across the province were able to make some harvest progress as well as swathing, especially in canola fields. Some light frosts have been reported for the Peace Region with the lowest temperature recorded between -1 C and -2 C over the last week.

Related Articles

Provincially, about 18 per cent of major crops have now been harvested, up five per cent from last week (see table below), while 20 per cent are in the swath, up 10 per cent from a week ago. About 62 per cent of major crops remain standing, down 15 per cent from last week. When compared to the 5-year averages (2014-2018), harvest progress is behind in all regions, led by the Peace Region (20 per cent behind), followed by the North East (15 per cent behind) and Central and North West Regions (12 per cent behind). Harvest of major crops in the Southern Region is now eight per cent behind. Provincially, nearly 68 per cent of dry peas, 24 per cent of barley, 15 per cent of spring wheat, seven per cent of oats and six per cent of canola are now in the bin. Also, 40 per cent of canola, 12 per cent of barley, nine per cent of spring wheat and seven per cent of oats have been swathed.

Soil moisture reserves seem to be near normal for most parts of the province. Soil moisture reserves are considered moderately low for the northwestern parts of the Southern Region, a large area in the Central Region and the western parts of the Peace Region. However, they are moderately high in the western and central parts of the North West Region, as well as the southern and northern parts of the Peace. Surface soil moisture is currently rated as six per cent poor, 20 per cent fair, 50 per cent good and 20 per cent excellent, with four per cent rated as excessive. Sub-surface soil moisture is rated as nine per cent poor, 26 per cent fair, 41 per cent good and 22 per cent excellent, with two per cent excessive.

Pasture and tame hay growing conditions have improved over the last two months. This is attributed to precipitation across the province, bringing moisture to the fields. Some second cut alfalfa is being harvested as silage to preserve quality and some producers are considering to cut their annual crops for feed due to low quality. Currently, pasture growing conditions are rated as 17 per cent poor, 37 per cent fair, 44 per cent good and two per cent excellent. Similarly, tame hay growing conditions are reported as 11 per cent poor, 33 per cent fair, 53 per cent good and three per cent excellent.

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

  • Although last week’s rain was helpful for sub-surface soil moisture reserves and welcomed by producers, it delayed harvest operations. Harvest advanced an additional 11 per cent of major crops from a week ago.
  • Regionally, 38 per cent of crops are still standing, 13 per cent swathed and 49 per cent combined (down eight per cent from the 5-year average of 58 per cent).
  • About 94 per cent of dry peas, 57 per cent of spring wheat, 63 per cent of barley and 68 per cent of oats are either in swath or the bin.
  • About 30 per cent of canola is in the bin (compared to the 5-year average of 46 per cent), with another 21 per cent swathed.
  • Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface soil ratings in the brackets) are rated as 15 (18) per cent poor, 42 (50) per cent fair, 41 (31) per cent good and 2 (1) per cent excellent.

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

  • Producers are now busy with harvest operations after last week’s showers, with about five per cent progress made from a week ago. Warm, dry and sunny weather is needed in the region for further progress.
  • Regionally, 71 per cent of crops are still standing, 16 per cent swathed and 13 per cent combined (down 12 per cent from the 5-year average of 25 per cent).
  • About 75 per cent of dry peas, 20 per cent of spring wheat, 30 per cent of barley and 10 per cent of oats are either in swath or the bin.
  • About three per cent of canola is in the bin (compared to the 5-year average of 20 per cent), with another 25 per cent swathed.
  • Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface soil ratings in the brackets) are rated as 3 (10) per cent poor, 18 (28) per cent fair, 69 (52) per cent good and 10 (10) per cent excellent.

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

  • Weather conditions over the past week limited harvest progress to about three per cent of major crops from a week ago. However, about half of canola has now been swathed.
  • In this region, 65 per cent of crops are still standing, 28 per cent swathed and seven per cent combined (down 15 per cent from the 5-year average of 22 per cent).
  • About 66 per cent of dry peas, 15 per cent of spring wheat, 27 per cent of barley and 20 per cent of oats are either in swath or the bin.
  • Less than one per cent of canola is in the bin (compared to the 5-year average of 11 per cent), with another 50 per cent swathed.
  • Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface soil ratings in the brackets) are rated as 2 (2) per cent fair, 51 (44) per cent good and 44 (53) per cent excellent, with 3 (1) per cent excessive.

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

  • Harvest has just begun in the region, mainly on dry peas and barley fields, with very low yield and quality reported for dry peas. Over the past week, harvest progress has been minimal (one per cent from a week ago), but producers are swathing canola. Cooler than normal temperatures, high humidity and shorter daylight are concerns in most parts of the region. Heat and sunshine is needed to advance harvest progress.
  • In this region, 79 per cent of crops are still standing, 18 per cent swathed and three per cent combined (down 12 per cent from the 5-year average of 15 per cent).
  • About 44 per cent of dry peas, one per cent of spring wheat, six per cent of barley and five per cent of oats are either in swath or the bin.
  • No canola has yet been combined (compared to the 5-year average of three per cent), while 40 per cent is swathed.
  • Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface soil ratings in the brackets) are rated as 22 (22) per cent good and 61 (67) per cent excellent, with 17 (11) per cent excessive.

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

  • Over the past week, showers and cool weather have hindered harvest progress and producers were able to combine less than one per cent of their crops, but swathing has been ongoing.
  • Overall, 67 per cent of crops are still standing, 28 per cent swathed and five per cent combined (down 20 per cent from the 5-year average of 25 per cent).
  • About 57 per cent of dry peas, four per cent of spring wheat, six per cent of barley and two per cent of oats are either in swath or the bin.
  • While almost no canola is in the bin (compared to the 5-year average of 15 per cent), 56 per cent is in swath.
  • Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface soil ratings in the brackets) are rated as 0 (5) per cent poor, 10 (20) per cent fair, 63 (56) per cent good and 12 (17) per cent excellent, with 15 (2) per cent excessive.

About the author

Comments

explore

Stories from our other publications