By Sulz, Dave on September 3, 2020.
Favourable weather conditions, particularly in the south and central regions, have allowed most Alberta farmers to start harvesting spring-seeded crops, with southern Alberta producers leading the way, according to the latest crop report from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
As of Aug. 25, eight per cent of crops had been harvested across the province, with progress farthest along in the South, where 24 per cent of crops had been combined, including 21 per cent of major crops, and seven per cent swathed. Early harvest progress in all regions is close to the previous five-year (2015-19) average, says the report.
Crop conditions are strong across southern Alberta, with most crops showing a high percentage rated in good to excellent condition. Durum wheat, for example, shows 91.5 per cent of the crop rated good to excellent, with lentils checking in at 90.3 and potatoes at 90 per cent. Chick peas, dry peas, oats, barley, winter wheat and spring wheat all show more than 86 per cent of the crop in good to excellent condition, while canola is at 81.9 per cent.
The report’s assessment for Region One: Southern (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost) shows overall dryland crop ratings of 87 per cent good and excellent, 11 points above the provincial average and 40 points higher than the region’s five-year average. A spike in grasshoppers has been reported in some counties.
Sugar beet harvest has not yet begun, while the processing pea harvest is nearing completion with processing corn slated to start next week.
Anticipated dryland yields for the major crops are well above the provincial average. Irrigated yield estimates for almost all crops are above the five-year average, while only chickpeas and dry beans are slightly below their five-year. Sugar Beets are estimated at 28 tonnes per acre, slightly above the five-year average.
Pasture ratings are now three per cent poor, 43 per cent fair, 48 per cent good, with six per cent excellent.
Hay ratings are now four per cent poor, 42 per cent fair, 47 per cent good, with seven per cent excellent.
Surface soil moisture rated as poor/fair is 54 per cent with sub-surface moisture rated at 40 per cent poor/fair.
In Region Two: Central (Rimbey, Airdrie, Coronation, Oyen), dryland crop ratings of 92 per cent good and excellent are 16 points above the provincial average and 32 points higher than the region’s five-year average.
The full crop report can be read online at https://open.alberta.ca/publications/2830245.