Crops and forages throughout the province benefitted from the warmer weather of the past week as temperatures rose into the mid to high 20’s and even the low 30’s in southern Alberta. The warm temperatures enhanced crop emergence to 91 per cent germinated and allowed emerged crops and forages to take advantage of the good moisture conditions of the past several weeks to advance crop development. Seeding is 99.4 per cent complete compared to the 5 year average of 98.4 per cent with only a small amount of acres remaining to finish due to excessive moisture or reseeds.
Surface moisture ratings improved in all regions with the exception of the South. Provincially, surface moisture was rated at 81 per cent good or excellent compared to 77 per cent last week with the ratings improvement due principally to the reduction in excessive soil moisture. A year ago, only 20 per cent of the province was rated good or excellent. Sub soil moisture ratings improved in all regions to 67 per cent rated good or excellent compared to 64 per cent last week. The area of moderate to severe precipitation deficit along the west portion of the South and Central regions expanded this week and is starting to extend into the central portions of both regions.
Pasture and hay crops showed significant improvement with the warmer temperatures. Ratings improved in all regions to 67 per cent good or excellent from 54 per cent last week. Last year, only 20 per cent of pastures and hay in the province were rated as good or excellent. Haying has started in a few areas of southern Alberta and should become more general over the next week or so. Forage crops across the province are showing damage from the delayed start to growth and there is some anticipation that producers may opt to harvest their 1st cut early in hope of getting a better 2nd cut.