Prairie Post (West Edition)

Crops not in good shape and late rain didn’t help

- ALBERTA AGRICULTUR­E

Weather since the August 10 report has been cooler, with almost all areas receiving 10 to 80 mm of rain (Map). While the moisture is too late to support most crops, it is very welcome and it will replenish much-needed soil moisture reserves. Surface soil moisture ratings (sub-surface in brackets) are reported as 25 (41) per cent poor, 37 (33) per cent fair, 35 (24) per cent good and 3 (2) per cent excellent. Crop conditions show a slight improvemen­t over the last report, with 19 per cent of all crops reported in good to excellent condition (Table 1). South region’s irrigated crops are bolstering the 22 per cent of crops rated as good or excellent, while North East has 20 per cent, North West at 19 per cent followed by Central region at 18 per cent of crops. Peace region is lowest with an estimated 14 per cent of crops good or excellent.

Harvest operations were interrupte­d in some areas with recent rainfall events, but that didn’t stop the forward progress. Peas are leading the provincial acres in the bin with 72 per cent now harvested, followed by barley at 23 per cent and spring wheat at 15 per cent (Table 2). Regionally, the South is now 34 per cent combined while Central is 17 per cent, North West is 13 per cent, North East is eight per cent followed by Peace at seven per cent in the bin. Acres now combined are estimated at 17 per cent, and are well ahead of the five- and 10-year averages of eight and seven per cent respective­ly. Yield estimates are considerab­ly lower, with provincial estimates at 60 per cent of the five-year average and 61 per cent of the 10-year average (Table 3). Spring wheat yields are estimated at 30 bushels per acre, barley at 38 bushels, oats are 47 bushels with both canola and peas estimated at 25 bushels to the acre as a provincial average.

Producers planning a second cut of hay is on par with the five-year average of 46 per cent on dryland acres and 16 per cent on irrigated acres. Roughly 30 per cent of second cut dryland hay is now up with yields averaging 0.9 tons per acre

(five-year average of 1.3 tons), while second cut irrigated hay is 60 per cent baled with a yield of 1.7 tons per acre (five- year average of 1.9 tons). Dryland second-cut hay quality is rated as 66 per cent good or excellent while irrigated second- cut hay is rated 58 per cent good or excellent.

Regional Assessment­s:

Region One: South (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost)

• Precipitat­ion and cool temperatur­es, while welcome, will do very little for this year’s crop other than delay harvest. To date, 34 per cent of the major crops are in the bin and six per cent is in the swath.

• Crop quality ratings for dryland crops have 22 per cent good and excellent, three points above the provincial average, and 34 points lower than the region’s five-year average. • nAnticipat­ed dryland yields are well below both the five- and 10-year averages.

• Irrigated yield estimates for the major crops are slightly below the five-year average. While the harvest has yet to begin, dry bean yields are expected to be 25 cwt per acre and sugar beets 29 tonnes per acre.

• Pasture ratings are now 53 per cent poor, 36 per cent fair, 10 per cent good, with 1 per cent excellent.

• Hay ratings are now 46 per cent poor, 40 per cent fair, with 14 per cent good.

• Surface soil moisture rated as poor/ fair is 73 per cent with sub-surface soil moisture rated 91 per cent poor/ fair.

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Map 2
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