Snow, cold grind Alberta harvest to virtual standstill

File photo of a snow-topped field in Alberta. (Don White/iStock/Getty Images)

MarketsFarm — Last weekend’s dump of snow coupled with cold temperatures brought the Alberta harvest to a complete halt, according to the province’s latest crop report.

For the week ended Oct. 1, the province-wide harvest managed to improve to 33.7 per cent from 28.1 per cent the previous week. This year’s pace was slightly above this time last year, but about 20 points behind the five-year average.

From north to south, parts of Alberta received snow from about 10 centimetres up to one metre of snow. The harvest was at a complete stop in southern and central regions, with little progress in northern and Peace River regions. Farmers, especially those in the northwest, used grain dryers to a great extent.

During the night of Sept. 30 into the morning of Oct. 1, the low fell to -4 C throughout most of Alberta, which resulted in a killing frost.

The canola harvest was at 15.6 per cent province-wide, up from 11.8 per cent from the previous week. The south remained the furthest along going from 53.3 to 61.3 per cent complete. Elsewhere, the canola harvest was just underway in the northwest at 1.2 per cent done and Peace River reached 9.1 per cent with the rest of the province in between.

The wheat harvest was bogged down as well, going from 26.9 per cent to 34.7 per cent complete. The south again was furthest along having gone from 66.9 to 79.2 per cent done. The rest of Alberta ranged from 17.5 to 23.2 per cent, with the northwest vaulting from 5.7 to 22.5 per cent complete over the week.

The snow and rain helped improve soil moisture ratings with good to excellent ratings going from 67.2 per cent to 77.6 per cent, which was more than 10 points above the five-year average.

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