Varied crop progress as storms pass through the Prairies
Highlights from the latest crop reports from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
By Top Crop Manager
Crop progress across the Prairies ranges along a wide spectrum, with some areas seeing storms and others facing dry conditions, according to the latest provincial crop reports.
Recent storms passing through parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan have degraded crop conditions. The damage from the excessive rainfall varies widely depending on location, topography and soil type. Affected producers are hoping for a break in weather to allow for wet fields to dry so hay harvest and crop development can continue.
Other areas, such as southern Alberta, have received very little rain and the dry conditions have led to rapidly maturing crops and reports of reduced yields. Hay and forage yields are also significantly below average in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with producers indicating that there likely will not be a second cut of hay.
- Crop conditions overall are estimated at 68 per cent good and excellent, on par with the provincial 10-year average for all crops.
- Crops in the Central region are 20 points higher than the five-year average, with 78.7 per cent rated good to excellent condition.
- Crops in the Northwest and South region are below their five-year average.
- Crops in areas within the Peace, Northwest, and Northeast regions began to degrade as a result of excessive rainfall. The damage varied substantially depending on location, topography and soil type.
- In contrast, South region experienced moderately low to very low precipitation. The lack of rain led to rapidly maturing crops and reported estimates of reduced yields.
- Soil moisture conditions have been varied across the province as areas start to see more extremes. The provincial average is down to 43 per cent rated good, from 56 per cent of surface soil moisture rated as good in mid-July.
- The majority of surface soil moisture ratings in the South region are 63 per cent poor and fair, while in Central region ratings are 71 per cent good and excellent.
- The Central region has strong crop yield potential and “normal” soil moisture conditions – as opposed to low or high soil moisture. However, intense storms have passed through the region causing severe crop damage.
- Peace region balanced both extremes, from too dry to overly wet, with pasture, hay and crop conditions and yields reflecting the diverse elements.
A full regional breakdown is available in Alberta’s latest crop report.
- Harvest operations have already begun in some parts of the province and as crops continue to mature in the next few weeks, most producers will begin to harvest.
- Some crops are one-to-two weeks behind in development and this may be of concern depending on weather during harvest.
- Scattered rainfall covered parts of the province this week with some storms bringing hail. Rainfall was highly varied, ranging from trace amounts to 94 mm in the Porcupine Plain area.
- The moisture has helped later-seeded crops fill and replenish topsoil moisture.
- Provincially, topsoil moisture on cropland is rated as one per cent surplus, 60 per cent adequate, 36 per cent short and three per cent very short.
- Much like Alberta, crop conditions across the province are also varied, with the majority of crops being in fair-to-good condition.
- Some crops are one-to-two weeks behind in development and this may be of concern depending on weather at harvest time and when the first fall frost occurs.
- The majority of crop damage has been from strong winds, hail, localized flooding, insects such as grasshoppers and aphids, and a lack of moisture.
- There are reports of ascochyta blight causing significant damage in chickpea crops in the south.
- Producers are haying, hauling bales and getting ready for harvest.
A full regional breakdown is available in Saskatchewan’s latest crop report.
- Cereal harvest has begun across the province.
- Pre-harvest weed control is continuing in spring wheat and desiccation in field peas. Producers are encouraged to check the Keep it Clean website for pre-harvest interval information.
- Grasshoppers have emerged as the insect of main concern, and monitoring is occurring in all regions.
- Hay and forage yields are significantly below average. Saskatchewan has also seen hay yields well below normal, and hay will be in short supply in several areas in the neighbouring province as well. Producers can use the Manitoba hay listing service as a resource to find available hay in their area.
A full regional breakdown is available in Manitoba’s latest crop report.