Wet weather continues, stalling Alberta harvest further

Alberta Crop Report: Conditions as of October 15

Wet weather along with below normal temperatures have been the dominant pattern in Alberta over the past couple of weeks. During the long weekend, large areas in the North East and North West Regions received between 10 to 15 mm of precipitation in the form of either rain or rain and snow mix. For the Southern, Central and Peace Regions, precipitation was mainly light, but variable, with some areas accumulating 3 – 5 mm. The moisture has halted harvesting operations in most parts of the province. However, producers in all regions except for the Southern Region were able to make some progress over the last week before the cool wet weather that prevailed over the weekend.

Provincially, about 59 per cent of major crops across the province have now been harvested, up 14 per cent from last week (See Table 1 below). Estimates suggest that about 21 per cent of major crops are in swath and 20 per cent remain standing. When compared to the 5-year averages (2014-2018), provincial harvest progress is 17 per cent behind. Regionally, harvest progress is behind in all regions, led by the Central Region (26 per cent behind), followed by the Peace (25 per cent behind), North East (16 per cent behind) and Southern and North West Regions (8 per cent behind).

Table 1: Estimates of Harvest Progress as of Oct. 15, 2019.
photo: Source: AF/AFSC Crop Reporting Survey

Nearly 9 per cent of spring wheat, 12 per cent of barley, 17 per cent of oats and 41 per cent of canola have been swathed. Also, 28 per cent of spring wheat, 18 per cent of barley, 33 per cent of oats, 17 per cent of canola and 5 per cent of dry peas remain standing.

Frost and low temperatures are slowing pasture growth across the province. In some areas, cattle are being moved to harvested fields. Currently, pasture conditions are rated as 21 per cent poor, 40 per cent fair, 37 per cent good and 2 per cent excellent (See Table 2 below).

Table 2: Regional Pasture Conditions as of Oct. 15, 2019
photo: Source: AF/AFSC Crop Reporting Survey

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

  • Snow and cool weather in the region has prevented producers from further advancing harvest. A forecast of more favourable harvest conditions should enable harvest to resume in the coming week(s). Some specialty crops have been damaged by frost and may be abandoned.
  • Regionally, 82 per cent of major crops are harvested, 9 per cent are swathed and another 9 per cent are still standing.
  • About 10 per cent of spring wheat, 5 per cent of barley and 9 per cent of oats are still standing. For canola, 68 per cent is harvested, 16 per cent is swathed and another 16 per cent is still standing.
  • Fall seeded crops are rated as 5 per cent poor, 39 per cent fair, 51 per cent good and 5 per cent excellent.
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  • Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface soil ratings in the brackets) are rated as 7 (13) per cent poor, 43 (49)
    per cent fair, 48 (37) per cent good and 2 (1) per cent excellent.

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

  • Although moisture from previous snow and recent rain has halted harvest operations in some areas, producers in other areas were able to resume harvest. Regionally, harvest advanced an additional 10 per cent of major crops from a week ago.
  • Currently, about 46 per cent of major crops in this region are now in the bin, 27 per cent in are swath and another 27 per cent are still standing.
  • About 37 per cent of spring wheat, 22 per cent of barley, 50 per cent of oats and 7 per cent of dry peas are still standing. For canola, 25 per cent has been harvested, 52 per cent is swathed and 23 per cent is still standing.
  • Fall seeded crops are rated as two per cent poor, 15 per cent fair, 81 per cent good and 2 per cent excellent.
  • Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface soil ratings in the brackets) are rated as 3 (11) per cent poor, 18 (28)
    per cent fair, 65 (48) per cent good and 14 (13) per cent excellent.

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

  • Most areas in the region had good progress until snow and rain fell on Sunday, putting harvest operations on pause again. In this region, harvest advanced by an additional 23 per cent of major crops from a week ago.
  • Regionally, about 56 per cent of major crops have been harvested, 25 per cent are in swath and 19 per cent are standing.
  • About 28 per cent of spring wheat, 18 per cent of barley, 23 per cent of oats and 2 per cent of dry peas are still standing. For canola, about 43 per cent has been combined, 44 per cent is in swath and 13 per cent is still standing.
  • Fall seeded crops are rated as 13 per cent fair and 87 per cent good.
  • Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface soil ratings in the brackets) are rated as 2 (3) per cent fair, 54 (44) per cent good and 42 (52) per cent excellent, with 2 (1) per cent excessive.

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

  • Over the past week, harvest advanced an additional 26 per cent in the region, before rain on Sunday put harvest on hold again.
  • Overall, 54 per cent of major crops are now in the bin, 30 per cent are in swath and 16 per cent are standing.
  • About 25 per cent of spring wheat, 26 per cent of barley, 21 per cent of oats and 4 per cent of dry peas are still
    standing. While 34 per cent of canola has been harvested, 58 per cent is in swath and 8 per cent is still standing.
  • Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface soil ratings in the brackets) are rated as 28 (23) per cent good and 67 (77) per cent excellent, with 5 (0) per cent excessive.

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

  • Although damp conditions and cool temperatures kept harvest at a slower pace over the past week, producers managed to get in the fields and advanced harvest by an additional 15 per cent, before wet weather started on the long weekend and halted harvest operations again.
  • Regionally, 50 per cent of major crops have been combined, 19 per cent are in swath and 31 per cent are standing.
  • About 50 per cent of spring wheat, 54 per cent of barley, 56 per cent of oats and 14 per cent of dry peas are still
    standing. While 41 per cent of canola has been harvested, 38 per cent is in swath and 21 per cent is still standing.
  • Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface soil ratings in the brackets) are rated as 0 (3) per cent poor, 10 (19) per cent fair, 69 (59) per cent good and 12 (17) per cent excellent, with 9 (2) per cent excessive.

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