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Soil moisture improves and harvest progresses in Alberta

Provincial soil moisture ratings are gradually improving, with 74 per cent of the average surface soil moisture currently rated as good or excellent, according to Alberta's latest crop report. 

October 24, 2018  By Alberta Agriculture

Soil moisture conditions in the north and northeast are raising the average, with surface soil moisture conditions rated at 97 per cent excellent and sub surface moisture conditions rated at 86 per cent excellent in the North East. The south currently has surface soil moisture conditions rated at 42 per cent good or excellent and 20 per cent of sub surface soil moisture conditions rated as good or excellent. 

In the most recent moisture situation update, Ralph Wright with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, explains how September and October have been exceptionally cool months for the province of Alberta. Despite the dryer than normal conditions that many experienced during June, July and August, Alberta is currently back to near normal moisture conditions for the province. However, much of the recent precipitation fell as snow or a rain-show mix. Few, if any, agricultural areas escaped at least some temporary snow cover at one time or another. 

Overall, the past two weeks of better weather have been good news for producers. Harvest progress is up, and as of Oct. 16, 47 per of major crops have been harvested. This number is sure to be higher in Alberta Agriculture’s next crop report which would reflect the recent warmer drier weather. 

Producers who took advantage of the small windows of opportunity to combine were taking the crops off tough or damp and have been busy drying their grain. Frost was prevalent across the province which will tell in the grades of canola that may have had a higher green count or not yet mature. There are some reports of sprouted cereals in areas due to the moisture and lodging that occurred from heavier snowfall. For more in-depth regional breakdowns, read the full Alberta crop report


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