Producers were only able to make limited harvest progress this past week as a general rain covered virtually all areas of the province. Beginning Friday of the long weekend, amounts of 35 – 60 mm fell in the South, Central, North East and North West regions while lesser amounts of 15 – 30 mm fell across the Peace. Harvest progress is currently approaching 31 per cent completed, up from 21 per cent last week, with an additional 25 per cent in the swath. Harvest is most advanced in the South region with 55 per cent combined and 19 per cent swathed. The remainder of the province varies from 14 – 25 per cent completed with the Central region being the slowest.
Harvested yields continue to improve as more production data becomes available. Producers are reporting that yields are above expectation. Yield estimates continue to show the effects of the early dryness of May and June. Provincial yield index has improved from 74 per cent of the 5 year average in late July to 81 per cent in this report. Regional yield indexes have improved by 2 – 4 percentage points in all regions since the last report of yields on August 25th with the greatest improvement in the Central region. Early quality indications for the production already harvested point to grades well above 5 and 10 year averages.
The precipitation during August and early September has brought a significant improvement in soil moisture conditions. Soil moistures in South and Central regions are returning to normal levels while the dryness continues, though improved, in the regions North East and North West of Edmonton. In the Peace, soil moisture remains a concern in the north and south portions of the region but is returning to more normal levels in the central. Provincially, subsoil moisture is rated 21 per cent Poor (-4 points); 41 per cent Fair (-2 points); 35 per cent Good (+4 points); 3 per cent Excellent (+2 points) and will likely improve further when it can be better assessed.