Crop conditions slide as soil moisture dwindles in some areas

Alberta crop conditions as of July 10, 2018

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Precipitation over the past month has been very spotty across the province, resulting in variable soil moisture reserves and crop conditions. Crop condition ratings are down from a week ago for all regions, but still higher than the short and long term averages in the North East, North West and Peace Regions. For the Southern and Central Regions, crop condition ratings are below the short and long averages. Provincially, crop growing conditions are 73 per cent good to excellent, compared to the 5-year average (2013-2017) of 69 per cent and the long term average (2004-2017) of 70 per cent.

Provincially, soil moisture reserves have decreased, but regionally, remained highly variable. While surface soil moisture improved from a week ago in the North East and Peace Regions, it fell in other regions. Sub-surface soil moisture dropped for the Southern, Central and Peace Regions, and improved in the North East and North West Regions. Surface soil moisture ratings (sub-surface soil moisture are shown in brackets) across the province are now rated 8 (8) per cent poor, 29 (29) per cent fair, 45 (43) per cent good, 17 (19) per cent excellent and 1 (1) per cent excessive.

Pasture and tame hay conditions are starting to deteriorate in most of the province. Provincially, pasture conditions (tame hay conditions shown in brackets) declined four (three) per cent, with 58 (56) per cent rated as good to excellent. First cut dryland hay is 40 per cent complete across the province, slightly behind normal. The estimated yield for dry land hay is 1.0 ton per acre (lower than the 5-year average of 1.5 tons per acre), with quality rated as 72 per cent good to excellent, compared to the 5-year average of 77 per cent. For irrigated hay, first cut is 59 per cent complete (down 21 per cent from the 5-year average), with yield at 2.2 tons per acre (compared to the 5-year average of 2.4 tons per acre). Quality is rated as 81 per cent good to excellent, compared to the 5-year average of 86 per cent.

Click here to read the full report on the Alberta Agriculture website, complete with graphics and a breakdown by regions.

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