Hot weather stressing crops, harvests seeing lower yields

Alberta crop conditions as of August 7, 2018

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Since mid-July, variable precipitation has occurred across the province, with enough rain in some areas, while others are under dry conditions, especially in the southern part of the province. Hot temperatures added to the stress on crops and forages in dry areas, causing heat stress and pushing maturity quickly, resulting in lower than normal yields. Some hail damage has been reported across the province. Provincial crop condition ratings declined by three per cent to 60 per cent good to excellent, compared with the 5-year average (2013-2017) of 66 per cent and long term average (2008-2017) of 65 per cent.

Compared to the previous week, crop conditions improved slightly in the Southern Region, due to localized shower activities, but remained below the short and long term averages. Crop conditions in the Central, North East and North West Regions fell, while the Peace Region remained unchanged. In terms of crop development, spring seeded cereals across the province are mostly in the dough development stage.

Harvest operations have just begun mostly for barley, winter wheat and dry peas in the Southern Region and winter wheat in the Central. Provincially, short term estimated dryland yield is six per cent below the 5-year average, while in line with the 10-year average. Currently, compared to the short term normal, yields for the Peace Region are above average and on par for the North East and North West Regions. However, short term yield indices show yield down by 25 per cent and eight per cent, respectively for the Southern and Central Regions. Compared to the long term normal, yields in the Peace, North East and North West Regions are above average, the Central is on par, and in the Southern Region is 25 per cent below average.

Provincial first cut dryland hay is 94 per cent complete, with average yield on dryland estimated at 1.0 ton per acre (below the 5-year average of 1.5 tons per acre), and the quality rated as 59 per cent good to excellent. Irrigated haying operations are complete, with yield at 2.2 tons per acre (down from the 5-year average of 2.4 tons per acre) and quality rated as 79 per cent good to excellent. Second cut haying operations are underway. The estimated yield for second cut hay is reported 0.7 ton per acre for dryland and 1.9 tons per acre for irrigated lands, which are lower than the 5-year averages of 1.1 and 2.0 tons per acre. Second cut hay quality is lower than normal and rated as 53 per cent good to excellent in dryland and 83 per cent in irrigated.

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

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