Harvest progress behind curve as hot, dry spell ends

Unsettled weather conditions continue to plague the 2018 harvest season. Producers made very little progress this past week as intermittent showers and rainfall affected all regions. Along with the moisture, cooler weather led to unwelcome frost and ended the long-lasting hot dry spell. The early morning hours saw temperatures in the central region fall below -2 C. Smoke from the B.C. fires touched the South region and hindered sunlight from drying the crops.

Currently, provincial harvest is 10.6 per cent complete as compared to 17.8 per cent completed at this time last year. Harvest is up 4.1 percentage points over last week’s 6.5 per cent yet 3.6 points below the 14.2 per cent five-year provincial average.

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Surface soil moisture importance is increasing with respect to the seeding of winter cereals. Provincially, surface soil ratings of good or excellent are up to 46.2 over the previous weeks 43.5 per cent with the Peace region’s 66.9 per cent heavily bringing up the average. Sub-surface soil ratings are 25.2 poor; 31.7 fair; 32.2 good; 9.9 excellent and 1.1 per cent excessive.

When it comes to hay and pasture, not much change since last week’s generally poor conditions. Cattle that has not already been pulled will soon be and little hope remains for second cut hay. Pasture rated as good or excellent fell 4.4 percentage points to 29.9 from last week’s 34.3 per cent with the central and northwest regions having the highest rate of poor and the lowest rate of good in the province.

Regional assessments

Southern (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost)

  • Harvest progress on major dryland crops has increased over last week from 17.6 per cent combined and 4.9 per cent swathed to 29.1 per cent combined and 7.1 per cent swathed, which is well below the 52.4 per cent that was harvested at this time last year.
  • Spring wheat is 21.8 per cent combined versus 5 year average of 29.2 per cent; barley at 41.4 per cent harvested versus 38.6 per cent; canola at 7.5 per cent harvested versus 20.1 per cent; field peas at 70.8 per cent versus 5 year average of 81.8 per cent.
  • Surface soil moisture: 29.8 per cent Poor; 45.6 per cent Fair; 23.8 per cent Good; 0.8 per cent Excellent; 0.1 per cent Excessive.
  • Pasture Condition Rating: 34.8 per cent Poor; 44.0 per cent Fair; 18.8 per cent Good; 2.4 per cent Excellent.
  • Hay Condition Rating: 33.3 per cent Poor; 45.2 per cent Fair; 19.0 per cent Good; 2.5 per cent Excellent.

Central (Rimbey, Airdrie, Coronation, Oyen)

  • Harvest progress advanced slowly over last week from 3.5 per cent combined and 5.4 per cent swathed to 7.8 per cent combined and 11.3 per cent swathed. At this time last year harvest completion was at 14.1 per cent.
  • Spring wheat is 4.3 per cent combined versus five-year average of 6.3 per cent; barley at 6.1 per cent harvested versus 7.7 per cent; canola at 0.7 per cent harvested versus 6.2 per cent; field peas at 67.7 per cent completed versus five-year average of 55.3 per cent.
  • Surface soil moisture rating: 30.7 per cent Poor; 40.0 per cent Fair; 26.7 per cent Good; 2.7 per cent Excellent.
  • Pasture Condition Rating: 58.5 per cent Poor; 34.8 per cent Fair; and 6.7 per cent Good; and none rated as Excellent.
  • Hay Condition Rating: 57.0 per cent Poor; 35.3 per cent Fair; and 7.7 per cent Good; and none rated as Excellent.

North East (Smoky Lake, Vermilion, Camrose, Provost)

  • Small amount of harvest complete in the region that has marginally increased over last week from two per cent combined and 3.8 per cent swathed to five per cent combined and 11.5 per cent swathed. The last week of August last year saw 2.6 per cent harvested.
  • Spring wheat is 4.1 per cent combined versus five-year average of 5.2 per cent; barley at 2.7 per cent harvested versus 3.5 per cent; canola at 0.8 per cent harvested versus 1.2 per cent; field peas at 51 per cent completed versus five-year average of 56.6 per cent.
  • Surface soil moisture: 10.4 per cent Poor; 21.3 per cent Fair; 51.2 per cent; Good; 16.3 per cent Excellent; 0.8 per cent Excessive.
  • Pasture Condition Rating: 24.2 per cent Poor; 34.6 per cent Fair; 40.8 per cent Good; and 0.4 per cent Excellent.
  • Hay Condition Rating: 21.9 per cent Poor; 35.8 per cent Fair; and 42.3 per cent Good; and none rated as Excellent.

North West (Barrhead, Edmonton, Leduc, Drayton Valley, Athabasca)

  • Harvest progress has moved from 0.4 per cent combined and 0.6 per cent swathed to 1.8 per cent combined and 3.4 per cent swathed over last week. Harvest at this time last year was 0.7 per cent complete.
  • Spring wheat is 1.1 per cent combined versus five-year average of 6.8 per cent; barley at 2.3 per cent harvested versus 5.0 per cent; canola at zero per cent harvested versus 0.6 per cent; field peas at 25.2 per cent completed versus five-year average of 44.3 per cent.
  • Surface soil moisture: 22.9 per cent Poor; 36.4 per cent Fair; 28.5 per cent; Good; 11.3 per cent Excellent; 0.9 per cent Excessive.
  • Pasture Condition Rating: 58.9 per cent Poor; 26.8 per cent Fair; and 14.3 per cent Good; none rated as Excellent.
  • Hay Condition Rating: 58.9 per cent Poor; 26.8 per cent Fair; and 14.3 per cent Good; none rated as Excellent.

Peace River (Fairview, Falher, Grande Prairie, Valleyview)

  • Minimal harvest underway. Harvest progress has improved over last week from 0.3 per cent combined and no crops swathed to 1.2 per cent combined to 2.4 per cent swathed. Harvest was at 6.9 per cent combined last year.
  • Spring wheat is 1.5 per cent combined versus five-year average of 19.4 per cent; barley at two per cent harvested versus 11.6 per cent; canola at zero per cent harvested versus 7.7 per cent; field peas at 5.5 per cent completed versus five-year average of 53.8 per cent. Desiccation of crops continues and swathing of canola has started.
  • Surface soil moisture: Poor none; 3.5 per cent Fair; 66.9 per cent Good; 21.2 per cent Excellent; 8.5 per cent Excessive.
  • Pasture Condition Rating: 0.4 per cent Poor; 19.6 per cent Fair; 67.7 per cent Good; and 12.3 per cent Excellent.
  • Hay Condition Rating: Poor none; 19.2 per cent Fair; 68.5 per cent Good; and 12.3 per cent Excellent.

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