Prairie Post (East Edition)

Alberta’s Agricultur­al moisture situation in decent shape (updated April 27)

- Alberta Agricultur­e

Most, if not all, of the Alberta’s agricultur­al land is now snow free, but “green-up” has been delayed due to cool temperatur­es. Since the last report (April 13, 2023), modest spring rains have fallen sporadical­ly across many parts of the province but have yet to arrive across some parts of each of the four agricultur­al regions (Map 1). Most of the North East Region has received at least 5 to 10 mm with some areas reporting more than 15 mm. Across the North West Region, most lands received less than 5 mm, and across the Central Region many widely scattered areas received less than 2 mm. The Southern Region is fairing slightly better where upwards of 5 to 10 mm has fallen, increasing to over 15 mm along the Milk River Ridge and westwards towards the foothills. Most of the Peace Region has seen recent rains with at least 5 to 10 mm falling across much of the land.

Dry fall 2022

Following a wet June and July, precipitat­ion patterns abruptly shifted into the dry end of the spectrum in early August and by the end of October most of the province’s agricultur­al areas had received below normal rainfall (Map 2), accompanie­d by above normal temperatur­es. Large areas around Edmonton, north of Lloydminst­er, Red Deer and North of Medicine Hat experience­d an August to October period, that dry, on average less than once in 25 years. Rain fall totals over this same period in many locales were less than 50 mm (Map 3). This led to fall soil moisture reserves dwindling to once in 50-year lows across much of the North East Region and thorough the south eastern and extreme northern parts of the Peace Region, as well as the eastern parts of the North West Region (Map 4).

Over winter precipitat­ion accumulati­ons

Relatively dry conditions persisted over winter with the exception on the very dry North East Region, where near normal moisture fell (Map 5). During this time, some parts of the Peace, North West, Central and Southern Regions had a winter this dry on average between once in 12 to 25 years. However, cooler overwinter temperatur­es and a delayed melt resulted in persistent snows across the south, which provided some early moisture as the snowpacks finally melted off this spring.

Recent (30-Day) precipitat­ion patterns

Generally drier than normal weather patterns have dominated the past 30-days across most of the Province lying south of Red Deer (Map 6). In contrast, most of the North East Region has received at least near normal moisture and this coupled with average to above average snowpacks, particular­ly north of Lloydminst­er, has helped alleviate exceptiona­lly dry conditions that started developing in late July last year. Notably dry conditions have prevailed through several counties lying north of Edmonton, as well as through many parts of the Peace

Region, lying south of Manning.

Soil moisture reserves as of April 27

As of April 27th, soil moisture reserves are generally below normal across most of the province with many widely scattered pockets of one in 50-year lows being present across much of the Central, North West and North East regions (Map 7). Much of the east-half of the North West Region is estimated to have reserves near once in 25 to 50 year lows, as well as a large area centered in and around Drumheller and also around Rocky Mountain House.

Currently, soil moisture deficits across the east-half of the province range between 25 to 50 mm and across parts of the west-half of the province between 50 to 75 mm (Map 8). This means that these areas will need a spell of wet weather, delivering upwards of 50 to 75 mm to bring reserves up to near normal levels for this time of year.


Despite a dry start to the 2023 cropping season, it’s far too early to make prediction­s on what impact current moisture deficits will have on crop yields and pasture growth. Alberta’s wet season still lies ahead, typically being in full swing by late May and persisting through June. Generally, north of the TransCanad­a Highway July is also a relatively wet month. That being said, rain is needed now across most areas, particular­ly across the south were seeding activities are ramping up and especially province wide, for pasture and hay land.­ns/moisture-situation-update ©2023 Government of Alberta | April 28,

 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada