Crop con­di­tions look good in Southern Al­berta

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - FARM NEWS - Al­berta Agri­cul­ture

Over the months of May and June, pre­cip­i­ta­tion has been at least near nor­mal in most ar­eas in­clud­ing the north­ern part of the Peace Re­gion, which was con­sis­tently dry for pre­vi­ous years. A large area cov­er­ing the western half of the Cen­tral Re­gion, most parts of the North West Re­gion, eastern parts of the North East Re­gion and the south and east of the Peace Re­gion have been very wet, re­ceiv­ing at least 200 mm of rain over the past 60 days. Within this area, there are some ex­tremely wet pock­ets that have re­ceived more than 200 mm of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, which has been al­most twice the nor­mal amount in those ar­eas. Over the last crop re­port week (week of June 17 – 23), most ar­eas in the Southern, Cen­tral, North East and Peace Re­gions re­mained rel­a­tively dry, while the western parts of the province, the south eastern parts of the Peace and some parts of the North East Re­gion re­ceived at least 10-15 mm of rain.

Provin­cially, 79 per cent of crops are now rated in good or ex­cel­lent con­di­tion, above the 5-year av­er­age of 70 per cent and the 10-year av­er­age of 74 per cent (See Ta­ble 1). Re­gion­ally, warmer tem­per­a­tures and less pre­cip­i­ta­tion ben­e­fited the North East and North West Re­gions, im­prov­ing crop con­di­tions by one and eight per cent, re­spec­tively. Crop grow­ing con­di­tions in the Southern and Peace Re­gions dropped by five per cent and re­mained al­most un­changed in the Cen­tral. Com­pared to the re­gional 5-year av­er­ages, crop con­di­tions are bet­ter than nor­mal in all re­gions, ex­cept for the North West. Crop de­vel­op­ment is slightly be­hind nor­mal in all ar­eas, but with warmer tem­per­a­tures they can catch up. Source: AF/AFSC Crop Re­port­ing Sur­vey Across those ar­eas that have re­ceived above nor­mal pre­cip­i­ta­tion since snow melt, soil mois­ture re­serves are above av­er­age through many ar­eas but are vari­able across the province (See the map on the next page). Soil mois­ture lev­els through the western half of the province are es­ti­mated to con­tain at least 120 mm of wa­ter, avail­able for plant growth, with some ex­tremely wet ar­eas within the zone, while it is drier across the southern and eastern parts of the Southern, Cen­tral and North East Re­gions, with only 20-40 mm of plant avail­able mois­ture. Pro­vin­cial sur­face soil mois­ture (sub-sur­face soil mois­ture rat­ings shown in brack­ets) was rated at 1 (2) per cent poor, 8 (9) per cent fair, 45 (46) per cent good and 38 (34) per cent ex­cel­lent, with 8 (9) per cent ex­ces­sive (see Ta­ble 2). Re­gion­ally, ex­ces­sive sur­face soil mois­ture rat­ings are re­ported at 7 per cent in the North East, 47 per cent in the North West and 15 per cent in the Peace Re­gion.

Re­gional As­sess­ments: Re­gion One: Southern (Strath­more, Leth­bridge, Medicine Hat, Fore­most) - Over the past week, pre­cip­i­ta­tion has been mostly from thun­der­show­ers, main­tain­ing soil mois­ture lev­els in some ar­eas, fol­lowed by sev­eral days of heat, con­tribut­ing to crop growth. Over­all, grow­ing con­di­tions are good and crops are grow­ing well, due to higher tem­per­a­tures and longer days. Hail dam­aged crops from 10 days ago are mostly re­cov­er­ing. - About two thirds of crops in the re­gion are rated as in good con­di­tion with an­other 15 per cent rated as ex­cel­lent. Most spring seeded ce­re­als are at the stem elon­ga­tion stage of de­vel­op­ment, slightly be­hind nor­mal.

- Sur­face and sub-sur­face soil mois­ture re­serves de­clined slightly by three and one per cent re­spec­tively, from a week ago. Sub­sur­face soil mois­ture is rated at 3 per cent poor, 17 per cent fair, 63 per cent good and 17 per cent ex­cel­lent. - Pastures look good and thin spots from pre­vi­ous poor springs are fill­ing. Pas­ture grow­ing con­di­tions (tame hay shown in paren­the­ses) are re­ported as 12 (9) per cent fair, 73 (71) per cent good and 15 (20) per cent ex­cel­lent. Re­gion Two: Cen­tral (Rim­bey, Air­drie, Corona­tion, Oyen)

- Most parts of the re­gion have had good weather over the past week and crops are de­vel­op­ing nicely. Spray­ing is about to fin­ish, with some later seeded canola fields are get­ting sprayed for flea bee­tles.

- About 85 per cent of ma­jor crops in the re­gion are rated as in good con­di­tion with an­other 10 per cent rated as ex­cel­lent. Most spring seeded ce­re­als are in the mid­dle of the tiller­ing stage of de­vel­op­ment, slightly be­hind nor­mal.

- Sur­face soil mois­ture re­serves im­proved slightly by one per cent from a week ago, while sub-sur­face soil mois­ture re­mained un­changed. Sub­sur­face soil mois­ture is rated at 4 per cent poor, 12 per cent fair, 68 per cent good and 16 per cent ex­cel­lent.

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