Crops were under significant stress this past week with the return of above average temperatures breaking a four-week period of moderate conditions during which most crops were able to move through their very sensitive reproductive stage. Combined with limited precipitation in the more northerly regions, provincial crop condition ratings declined only minimally based upon a significant decline in the South region being offset by small improvements in the Central and North East regions and little change to ratings in the North West and Peace.
Crop development is progressing quickly due to the warm temperatures. Harvest of winter cereals, field peas, and early barley has started in southern Alberta and will move north into the eastern portion of the Central region very shortly. Canola is in full flower in many areas of the province with a wide variance in crop stage within fields. This situation will bring about difficult decisions regarding when to swath to reduce shattering losses as well as cause reductions in grade due to green seed content.
Soil moisture ratings declined marginally with much of the change occurring in the Good to Fair category. 28 per cent of the province is rated Poor for both surface and subsoil moisture. Hay/pasture ratings declined 2 percentage points on the week with the bulk of the change occurring in the Good to Fair category.