Weather conditions put the chill on harvest progress

Alberta Crop Report: Conditions as of October 1

Harvest progress for major crops is 20 points behind the provincial 5-year average, but on par with progress for this reporting period last year. As compared to last week, 5 per cent more crop is in the bin. The Peace region is 34 points behind its 5-year average, followed by the North East at 25 below, the Central back 24 points, the North West 18 below and the South estimated at 4 points under (see Table 1 below). The regional average for swathed major crops is estimated at 29 per cent. Across Alberta 58 per cent of canola is in the swath, 18 per cent of oats, 14 per cent of barley and 11 per cent of spring wheat, with only 1 per cent of peas swathed.

This past weekend brought significant snowfall ranging from over a metre in the southern foothills down to 10 cm or so for areas as far north as Red Deer. Over the same time frame much of the rest of the province received enough rainfall to bring harvest to a halt.

Table 1: Regional harvest progress (major crops) as of Oct. 1, 2019.
photo: Source: AF/AFSC Crop Reporting Survey

Overnight September 30 into the morning of October 1 temperatures dropped below -4 Celsius resulting in killing frosts occurring throughout much of the province. While the continued cold and wet conditions will help with green counts in Canola, crops not yet mature may suffer some grade loss.

The estimated surface soil moisture ratings have moved out of the poor/fair rating up into the good/excellent end of the scale mostly due to changes in the South and Central region after the snow event. Good and excellent ratings jumped an impressive 24 points in Central area with a 7 point increase in the South. Excessive rating for Peace region stayed static with North East rating dropping 3 points and North West region is 6 per cent lower than last week.

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

  • Harvest progress came to an abrupt halt with the snowfall across the region on the weekend. Some standing cereal crops are down, or partially so, due to snow and may be a challenge to pick up with the header.
  • Peas are all in the bin, 88 per cent of barley, 79 of wheat, 77 of oats and 61 per cent of canola has been harvested. Swathed acres are 6 per cent for barley, 7 for wheat, 6 for oats, with canola at 16 per cent.
  • The recent heavy wet snow is a welcome sight in terms of replenishing soil moisture reserves. Surface soil moisture rated as poor is 11 percent, fair 40, good 47 with 2 rated as excellent. Sub-surface soil moisture rated as poor is 16, fair 50, 33 good with only 1 per cent rated as excellent.
  • Pasture is now going dormant. Poor ratings are currently at 21, fair is at 37, good ratings are 37 with 5 per cent as excellent.
  • Fall seeded crop ratings of poor are at 5, fair ratings are 40, 50 rated as good with excellent rated as 5 per cent.

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

  • Harvest activity was stopped due to the weather. Producers are looking for an extended period of sunny, warm and windy weather to get the equipment moving again.
  • For this reporting period, 86 per cent of peas have been harvested, 33 per cent of barley combined with 20 per cent swathed, 23 per cent of wheat combined with 17 per cent in the swath, 14 per cent of the oats binned with 13 swathed and only 5 per cent of canola combined and 56 per cent swathed.
  • There is no surface soil moisture rated as poor, fair ratings are at 8, good 70 with 22 per cent rated as excellent. Sub-surface soil moisture rated as poor is 7, fair 29, good 50 with 14 per cent rated as excellent.
  • Pasture rated as poor is currently at 29 per cent, fair is now 31, good ratings 40 and no pasture is rated as
    excellent.
  • Fall seeded crop ratings of poor are at 2, fair ratings are 16, 80 rated as good with excellent rated as 2 per
    cent.

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

  • Minimal harvest progress took place since last report. Field conditions have been affected by both rain and snow and crops were impacted by frost. There are also reports of geese in fields as they migrate south.
  • Pea harvest is 88 per cent complete, 28 per cent of barley has been combined with 26 per cent swathed, 19 per cent of wheat is off with another 18 per cent in the swath. Oats have 23 per cent in the bin with 26 swathed, and 6 per cent of canola has been combined with 75 per cent in the swath.
  • There are no surface soil moisture ratings of poor, 2 percent fair, 51 good with 45 rated as excellent and 2 per cent excessive. There are no sub-surface soil moisture ratings of poor, fair ratings are 4 per cent, 41 rated as good with 54 per cent rated as excellent and 1 per cent rated as excessive.
  • Pasture rated as poor is currently at 11, fair is 26, good ratings are 63 per cent, with none rated as excellent.
  • Fall seeded crop ratings of fair are 13 and 87 rated as good.

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

  • Little harvest progress achieved as weather conditions still unfavourable for combining. Grain dryers have been busy with tough and damp cereals.
  • Pea harvest is at 82 per cent, 39 per cent of barley combined with 4 swathed, 23 per cent of wheat is binned with just 1 per cent swathed, 15 per cent of oats combined and 30 per cent swathed. A great deal of canola is in the swath at 84 per cent and only 1 per cent combined.
  • Surface soil moisture rated as good is now 22 per cent with 68 rated as excellent and 10 per cent rated as excessive. Sub-surface soil moisture rated as good is 22 per cent with 78 per cent rated as excellent.
  • Pasture rated as fair is currently 25 per cent and good ratings are at 75 per cent.

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

  • Showers, cooler weather and heavy frosts have hampered harvest progress.
  • Currently 41 per cent of peas have been combined, 18 per cent of both barley and wheat are in the bin with
    less than 2 per cent in the swath, 11 per cent of oats have been harvested and 1 per cent swathed. Canola
    acres are 9 per cent combined and 55 per cent is in the swath.
  • Surface soil moisture rated as fair is 10 per cent, 69 rated as good with 12 rated as excellent and 9 per cent
    excessive. Sub-surface soil moisture rated as poor is 3 per cent, 21 fair, 57 good with 17 per cent rated
    excellent and 2 per cent rated as excessive.
  • Pasture rated as poor is currently at 5, fair is 37, good ratings are 49, with 9 per cent as excellent and none
    rated as excessive.

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