Dry weather offers harvest progress, but depletes soil moisture

Alberta crop conditions as of September 12

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Warm and dry weather conditions have prevailed across the province for several weeks, with only a few scattered areas experiencing frost in September. However, dry weather depleted the soil moisture, especially in the Southern and Central Regions where a large part of crops have already been harvested and soil does not have the cover. A map below (see link at bottom) shows the soil moisture reserves relative to long term normal to a depth of 120 cm. Producers are cautious due to fire hazards that could occur while harvesting in dry conditions.

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Warm and windy days over the past week have led to harvest progress in all regions. Provincially, about 45 per cent of crops have been harvested (up 13 per cent from last week), 17 per cent are in the swath (up two per cent from a week ago) and 38 per cent remain standing (down 14 per cent from last week). When compared to the 5-year average (2012-2016), harvest progress is advanced about 36 per cent in the Southern and 35 per cent in the Central Region and behind about eight per cent in the North West and 18 per cent in the Peace Region, while it is in line with the 5-year averages in the North East Region. Provincially, nearly 86 per cent of dry peas, 55 per cent of barley, 50 per cent of spring wheat, 28 per cent of canola and 22 per cent of oats are in the bin.

Both surface and sub-surface soil moisture ratings across the province dropped slightly. Surface soil moisture (sub-surface soil moisture rating are in brackets) is now rated as 33 (26) per cent poor, 20 (22) per cent fair, 24 (27) per cent good and 22 (23) per cent excellent, with one (two) per cent excessive. Pasture conditions (5-year averages are in brackets) are rated as 37 (16) per cent poor, 26 (38) per cent fair, 32 (41) per cent good and five (five) per cent excellent. Tame hay conditions have similar ratings and are reported as 35 per cent poor, 35 per cent fair, 24 per cent good and six per cent excellent.

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

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