Top Crop Manager

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Harvest lags behind average across the Prairies; Alberta harvest faces largest delays

Highlights from the latest crop reports from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

October 9, 2019  By Top Crop Manager

Harvest across the Prairies is behind average but still progressing, according to the latest provincial crop reports.

Alberta is currently experiencing the least amount of progress with only 33 per cent of harvest completed across all major crops. This is significantly behind the five-year average of 53 per cent, but on par with harvest 2018 numbers which saw only 32 per cent of harvest completed for the beginning of October.

In what seems to be an increasing pattern, the Prairies have seen delayed harvests in 2018 and 2016. Last year, out of the Prairies provinces, Alberta’s harvest had also been stalled the most, with only 40 per cent of crops harvested in early October. Manitoba and Saskatchewan saw double the progress, with 80 per cent and 78 per cent of overall crops harvested around the same time in early October 2018. Now, Manitoba leads the harvest progress with 71 per cent complete. While this is still behind the province’s own three-year average, it is ahead of Alberta’s and Saskatchewan’s progress which has been delayed because of wet weather, strong winds, hail, or in the case of Alberta – almost a metre of snow in some areas. As of October 7, Saskatchewan reported 55 per cent of crop was in the bin.


  • Harvest progress for major crops is 20 points behind the provincial five-year average, but on par with progress for this reporting period last year.
  •  The Peace region is 34 points behind its five-year average, followed by the North East at 25 below, the Central back 24 points, the North West 18 below and the South estimated at four points under.
  • Across Alberta 58 per cent of canola is in the swath, 18 per cent of oats, 14 per cent of barley and 11 per cent of spring wheat, with only 1 per cent of peas swathed.
  • The last week of September brought significant snowfall, ranging from over a metre in the southern foothills down to 10 cm or so for areas as far north as Red Deer. During the same time frame, much of the rest of the province received enough rainfall to halt harvest.
  • While the continued cold and wet conditions will help with green counts in Canola, crops not yet mature may suffer some grade loss.
  • The estimated surface soil moisture ratings have moved out of the poor/fair rating up into the good/excellent end of the scale mostly due to changes in the South and Central region after the snow event.
  • Good and excellent ratings jumped an impressive 24 points in Central area with a seven point increase in the South.
  • Excessive rating for Peace region stayed static with North East rating dropping 3 points and North West region is 6 per cent lower than last week.

A full regional breakdown is available in Alberta’s latest crop report.


  • Many producers were able to return to the field last week and 55 per cent of the crop is now in the bin.
  • This is up from 47 per cent last week but remains well behind the five-year (2014-2018) average of 82 per cent for this time of year.
  • Wet, cool weather continues to slow progress in much of the province. Much of the crop harvested so far is tough or damp and is being put into grain dryers and aeration bins. Warm, dry and windy days are needed soon so that producers can return to the field.
  • Harvest is most advanced in the southwest region, where 71 per cent of the crop is now combined.
  • The northeast region has 61 per cent combined, the west-central region 58 per cent and the southeastern region 55 per cent. The northwest region has 42 per cent combined and the east-central region 39 per cent.
  • Seventy-six per cent of the barley, 59 per cent of the durum, 58 per cent of the mustard, 52 per cent of the spring wheat, 50 per cent of the canary seed and oats, 40 per cent of the canola, 39 per cent of the chickpeas, 28 per cent of the soybeans and nine per cent of the flax is now in the bin.
  • An additional 48 per cent of the canola and 19 per cent of the mustard is swathed or ready to straight-cut.
  • Across the province, topsoil moisture conditions on cropland are rated as 15 per cent surplus, 52 per cent adequate, 30 per cent sort and three per cent very short.
  • The majority of crop damage this past week was due to strong winds and frost.
  • There continues to be many reports of crops sprouting, bleaching and staining and downgrading is expected at the elevator.
  • Geese and wildlife are feeding on swathed crops and causing damage.

A full regional breakdown is available in Saskatchewan’s latest crop report.


  • Canola harvest progress advanced in the Central, Interlake and Northwest regions, and soybean harvest progress jumped over the past three days, but harvest stalled in the Eastern region with repeated rains.
  • Quality of unharvested cereals, dry beans, and canola is decreasing with repeated rains, and sprouting is becoming severe on unharvested swathed crops.
  • Soybean yields are poor to below average. Some localised harvest losses reported from split pods.
  • Overall harvest progress is approximately 71 per cent complete, below the three-year average of 85 per cent for the second week of October.

A full regional breakdown is available in Manitoba’s latest crop report.


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