Weather plays nice to see Alberta harvest pick up pace

Alberta Crop Report: Conditions as of October 22

Significant momentum was made in some areas getting crop in the bin this past week, with the provincial average currently estimated at 74 per cent of all crops combined. This jump is primarily attributed to Central, North East and North West regions where 26, 16 and 13 per cent respectively of Major Crop* acres were harvested. South region moved up 6 per cent with Peace region combining only 4 per cent (See Table 1 below). Harvest progress on all crops is 8 points behind the five-year average of 82 per cent and 11 points back of the ten-year average of 86 per cent.

Table1. Source: AF/AFSC Crop Reporting Survey.

Dryland estimated yields are very slightly above the five and ten-year averages for this reporting week. South and North West areas are pulling down the average at 82 and 88 per cent respectively of the five-year (see Table 2 below), while Central, North East and Peace are all over 110 per cent compared to the five-year average. This corresponds with this year’s growing season precipitation relative to normal.

Table 2. Source: AF/AFSC Crop Reporting Survey.

No change reported since last week in the fall seeded crop conditions: poor ratings are estimated as 3 per cent, fair at 23 per cent, good is 71 per cent with 3 per cent rated excellent. Pasture ratings are also very similar to last week with 23 per cent rated poor, 39 per cent fair, 36 per cent good and 2 per cent excellent.

On October 23, Environment Canada issued a forecast for a cold front to come through on October 25 bringing a drop in temperatures with high winds across the southern half of Alberta, snow for much of northern half, and the foothills will see both snow and high winds. This brings concerns with not only harvest progress but also the quality of crops still left out.

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

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  • Harvest activity is ahead of last year, and moved forward from last week with total harvest now estimated at 90 per cent complete. There are reports of frost damage to potatoes, dry beans and sugar beets. Some potatoes may not be harvested and sugar beets are far behind at 18 per cent harvested compared to 61 per cent for the five-year average due to storage issues resulting from the frost.
  • Dryland crop yields are somewhat below (82 per cent) the five-year average given the dry conditions this year. Irrigated crops have the opposite story, as most crops are above last year’s yield estimates.
  • Quality rating estimates are high with 86 per cent of hard red spring wheat and 83 per cent of durum in the top two grades, barley at 49 per cent malt with an additional 39 per cent 1 CW, canola currently 72 per cent 1 Can, with peas 84 per cent 1 or 2 Can.
  • Soil moisture estimates for sub-surface (surface in brackets) currently rated as 13 (8) per cent poor, 49 (42) per cent fair, 37 (48) per cent good and 1 (2) per cent excellent.
  • Pasture conditions going into winter are currently rated as 18 per cent poor, 39 per cent fair, 38 per cent good and 5 per cent excellent.

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

  • Harvest activity moved forward significantly from last week’s estimate of 46 per cent of major crops in the bin with total harvest now estimated at 73 per cent complete (major crops at 72 per cent). The western areas are still struggling with the effects of the snow to try to pick up flattened crop and having trouble with moisture.
  • Yields on dryland crops are well above (112 per cent) the five-year average in this region with irrigated crop yields also estimated at least 10 bushel/acre higher than last year. Flax yield estimates have been revised slightly lower now more harvest has been done.
  • Quality rating estimates are strong with 83 per cent of hard red spring wheat and 88 per cent of durum in the top two grades, barley at 40 per cent malt with an additional 44 per cent 1 CW, canola currently 86 per cent 1 Can, with peas 84 per cent 1 or 2 Can. Some of the recently harvested grain has been combined tough.
  • Soil moisture estimates for sub-surface (surface in brackets) currently rated as 14 (3) per cent poor, 28 (24) per cent fair, 47 (61) per cent good and 11 (12) per cent excellent.
  • Pasture conditions going into winter are currently rated as 39 per cent poor, 22 per cent fair, and 39 per cent good.

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

  • Harvest progress was variable with counties in the south and east portions of the region moving forward while the other counties were battling precipitation this past week. An estimated total harvest now at 72 per cent complete (major crops at 72 per cent) as compared to 56 per cent last week on major crops.
  • Yields on dryland crops are well above (112 per cent) the five-year average in this region.
  • Quality rating estimates are mixed with 75 per cent of hard red spring wheat in the top two grades, barley at only 11 per cent malt with 75 per cent 1 CW, canola currently 89 per cent 1 Can, with peas 2 per cent 1 Can and 46 per cent 2 Can. Dryers have been running non-stop to get moisture levels down for safe storage.
  • Soil moisture estimates for sub-surface (surface in brackets) currently rated as 3 (3) per cent fair, 44 (56) per cent good and 52 (39) per cent excellent, and 1 (2) per cent excessive.
  • Pasture conditions going into winter are currently rated as 25 per cent poor, 53 per cent fair, and 22 per cent good.

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

  • Inconsistent weather conditions this past week left some pockets with wet field conditions while others were able to get the combines in the field and make some headway. Harvest progress increased 13 per cent over last week with total cop in the bin estimated at 67 per cent.
  • Yields on dryland crops are below (88 per cent) the five-year average in this region as a result of battling excess moisture most of the year.
  • Quality rating estimates are mediocre with 11 per cent of hard red spring wheat at 1 CW and 66 per cent at 2 CW, barley at only 1 per cent malt with 41 per cent 1 CW, canola currently 84 per cent 1 Can, with no peas at 1 Can and a small16 per cent 2 Can. Lots of tough and damp grain is keeping the dryers busy.
  • Soil moisture estimates for sub-surface (surface in brackets) currently rated as 23 (28) per cent good and 77 (67) per cent excellent, with 0 (5) per cent excessive.
  • Pasture conditions going into winter are currently rated as 2 per cent poor, 67 per cent fair, and 31 per cent good.

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

  • Cool temperatures with rain or snow across much of the region this past week resulted in little harvest progress. An estimated 53 per cent of crop is now in the bin compared to 50 per cent last week.
  • Yields on dryland crops are above (110 per cent) the five-year average in this region.
  • Quality rating estimates are variable with 42 per cent of hard red spring wheat at 1 CW and 22 per cent at 2
    CW, barley at only 20 per cent malt with 65 per cent 1 CW, canola currently 76 per cent 1 Can, with no peas at
    1 Can and 87 per cent 2 Can.
  • Soil moisture estimates for sub-surface (surface in brackets) currently rated as 3 (0) per cent poor, 16 (10) per
    cent fair, 62 (68) per cent good, 17 (12) per cent excellent, and 2 (10) per cent excessive.
  • Pasture conditions going into winter are currently rated as 4 per cent poor, 39 per cent fair, 51 per cent good
    and 6 per cent excellent.

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