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The following presents a review of the 2005 crop season, and an analysis of Alberta 2005 crop production statistics. In addition, a precipitation map for the 2005 crop season is shown on page 96.

The 2005 crop season
Overall, crop growing conditions in Alberta during the 2005 crop season were favorable, although cool, damp weather in the fall reduced crop quality and delayed harvesting operations. Provincial average yields of major crops reached record highs or near record highs, while quality was below average.

The 2005 crop season began under cool weather conditions. In May, below seasonal temperatures prevailed across the province. Rain showers brought various amounts of precipitation to the Northeast, Northwest and Peace Regions. Lack of rainfall, along with strong winds, depleted much of the soil moisture reserves in the Southern and Central Regions. In general, soil moisture reserves across the province were adequate for seed germination, with most producers completing seeding by the end of May.

In June, much needed precipitation arrived in the Southern and Central Regions. For some of the areas in these regions, heavy rainfall caused localized flooding, fertilizer leaching, development of leaf diseases, and crops turning yellow in low-lying fields. Rainfall also brought significant amounts of precipitation to the Northeast and Northwest Regions, and parts of the Peace Region. Overall, surface soil moisture was good to excellent in the province, with some exceptions in the Peace Region. However, below seasonal temperatures slowed crop development.

Unlike June, warm temperatures in July helped advance crop development. Major and specialty crops were mostly in good to excellent condition, with some areas reporting the best crops in many years. The exception was the Peace Region, where some crops were showing signs of drought stress. Additionally, heavy hailstorms caused significant crop damage in some areas of the Southern and Central Regions.

Based on a survey conducted by the Statistics and Data Development Unit (SADD) of Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development in mid-August, about three-quarters of major grain and oilseed crops were in good to excellent condition. Yield potentials for major crops were projected to be above or much above 10-year averages. However, cool, damp weather conditions in August delayed crop maturity.

In September, harvesting operations progressed slowly due to unfavorable weather conditions, including rain showers, frost, and below seasonal temperatures. By the end of September, combining was only one-quarter complete, compared to a progress of about 85-90 per cent in most years. However, producers did take advantage of relatively dry weather conditions in October and made substantial progress with harvesting. In fact, combining was estimated to be 87 per cent complete as of October 27, with the total harvest completed by the end of November. It should be noted that the poor fall weather not only delayed the completion of harvesting operations, but also caused significant deterioration in crop quality for major crops.

Insects and crop diseases
In 2005, significant pest damage to crops resulted from pest infestations, including wheat stem sawflies, cabbage seedpod weevils and bertha armyworms. Also reported were problems with grasshoppers, diamondback moth/larvae, root maggots, wireworm, flea beetles, and gophers. However, compared to most years, crop damage from pest infestations in 2005 was relatively less severe.

Additionally, due to humid conditions, crop diseases developed in some areas, necessitating the application of fungicides for the control of leaf diseases in cereals and sclerotinia in canola.

Forage and pasture
Due to below seasonal temperatures, pasture and tame hay growth was slow in the spring of 2005. Additionally, lack of precipitation affected pasture and tame hay growth in the Southern and Central Regions. Respondents of a survey, conducted by the SADD Unit in late May, reported pasture and hay conditions as 14 per cent poor, 30 per cent fair, 49 per cent good, and seven per cent excellent.

Rains in the summer and early fall resulted in improved pasture and tame hay growth. By mid-September, pasture conditions were rated as six per cent poor, 27 per cent fair, 55 per cent good, and 12 per cent excellent. Also, the improved moisture reserves helped produce much higher hay yields, when compared to 2004 and the 10-year average. However, hay quality did suffer from rain showers, and ranged mostly from fair to good. Further, to secure forage supplies, producers harvested some cereal crops for greenfeed and silage.

Alberta crop production, 2005
Total production of principal field crops in Alberta in 2005 reached a record 29 million tonnes (see Table 75), based on the Statistics Canada report - "November Estimate of Production of Principal Field Crops, Canada, 2005". This was seven per cent higher than in 2004, and 28 per cent above the 10-year average. The increased production in 2005 was driven by high crop yields, as crop acreage remained virtually unchanged from 2004. As a result of favorable crop growing conditions, provincial average yields in 2005 reached record highs for spring wheat, durum wheat, barley, oats and canola, and a near record high for dry peas. However, poor weather conditions in the fall did affect crop quality, which was estimated to be below average. Total summerfallow area in 2005 was estimated at 2.20 million acres, compared to 2.15 million acres in 2004, and the 10-year average of 2.98 million acres.

In 2005, total production of spring wheat rose 11 per cent from a year earlier, to a record 7.34 million tonnes. This was also 26 per cent higher than the 10-year average. The average yield of spring wheat in the province was estimated at a record 48.0 bushels per acre, four per cent higher than in 2004, and 25 per cent above the 10-year average. For durum wheat, total production was estimated at 1.02 million tonnes, marginally higher than in 2004, and 19 per cent above the 10-year average. The average yield of durum was estimated at a record 43.6 bushels per acre, up four per cent from 2004. Due to the large increase in spring wheat production, total production of all wheat reached a record 8.55 million tonnes. This was ten per cent higher than in 2004, and 26 per cent above the 10-year average.

Total barley production in 2005 was estimated at 5.57 million tonnes, one per cent higher than the 10-year average. However, this was down five per cent from 2004, due to a significant reduction in barley acreage, which negated the impact of slightly improved yields. The provincial average yield of barley reached a record 66.7 bushels per acre, compared to 65.4 bushels per acre in 2004, and the 10-year average of 57.7 bushels per acre. Estimated 2005 oat production was 859,000 tonnes, nine per cent above the 10-year average. However, this was down three per cent from a year earlier, due to a reduction in acreage. As a result of favorable crop growing conditions, the 2005 oat crop produced a record yield of 79.6 bushels per acre, four per cent higher than in 2004, and 21 per cent above the 10-year average.

In 2005, canola production jumped 25 per cent from a year earlier, to a record 3.65 million tonnes, and was 67 per cent higher than the 10-year average. The record production was due to significant increases in yield and harvested area. The provincial canola yield reached a record 37.9 bushels per acre, compared to the previous record of 33.9 bushels per acre in 2004, and the 10-year average of 26.6 bushels per acre. Total production of flaxseed increased 83 per cent from a year earlier, to 53,300 tonnes. The high production was driven by increases in yield and harvested area. Total production of dry peas was estimated at 617,500 tonnes, which is down 12 per cent from a year earlier, but still 31 per cent higher than the 10-year average.

Total production of tame hay in 2005 reached 8.44 million tones, up 14 per cent from 2004, and 49 per cent higher than the 10-year average. The high 2005 production was due to a substantial increase in the provincial average yield.

Additionally, based on a SADD Unit survey, it was estimated that 1.50 million acres or nine per cent of 2005 grain/oilseed crop acreage were harvested for greenfeed or silage. This was up 11 per cent from the 2004 area of 1.35 million acres, due mainly to an increase in silage area. With respect to greenfeed, total harvested area was estimated at 640,000 acres, virtually unchanged from a year earlier. However, total area harvested for silage increased 20 per cent from 2004, to 860,000 acres.

In 2005, total greenfeed production was estimated at 1.96 million tonnes, down seven per cent from the 2004 production of 2.10 million tonnes. The lower production was attributed partially to record tame hay production. Estimated silage production was 5.90 million tonnes, 18 per cent higher than the 2004 estimate of 5.00 million tones. The increased production in 2005 was driven by higher harvested area, as yields were relatively unchanged from a year earlier.

Crop prices and marketing, Alberta, 2005
Due to large domestic and international supplies, prices for most major grains and oilseeds in Alberta in 2005 dropped significantly from a year earlier. The average price of all wheat (weighted based on marketing and grades) was estimated at $3.48 per bushel, down 14 per cent from 2004, while barley price fell 18 per cent to $2.15 per bushel. The average price of canola declined 25 per cent from a year earlier, to $5.90 per bushel, the lowest since 2000. Prices for other major and specialty crops are presented in Tables 79 and 89. Marketing in 2005 was estimated at 5.73 million tonnes for all wheat and 1.38 million tonnes for barley, each down about six per cent from a year earlier. Below average quality for both the 2004 and 2005 crops in Alberta, along with the increased competition from large international supplies, contributed to the decrease in marketing. For canola, marketing was estimated at 2.81 million tonnes, up 25 per cent from 2004. The increase was due to high canola production.

Precipitation Map

To view the precipitation map, click here to open the attached .pdf file.

Tables and Figures

Tables
PDF File
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Table 73 - Major Crop Production, Canada and Provinces, 1996-2005
Table 74 - Acreage and Production of Principal Field Crops, Prairie Provinces and Canada, 2005
Table 75 - Alberta Principal Field Crops - Area, Yield and Production, 2001-2005
Table 76 - Alberta Major Crops - Acreage, 1954-2005
Table 77 - Alberta Major Crops - Yield, 1954-2005
Table 78 - Alberta Major Crops - Production, 1954-2005
Table 79 - Alberta Major Crops - Unit Value, 1954-2005
Table 80 - Alberta Wheat Crop by Type - Area, Yield and Production, 1996-2005
Table 81 - Alberta Summerfallow Area by Census Division, 1998-2005
Table 82 - All Wheat Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1996-2005
Table 83 - Spring Wheat Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1996-2005
Table 84 - Durum Wheat Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1996-2005
Table 85 - Barley Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1996-2005
Table 86 - Oats Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1996-2005
Table 87 - Canola Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1996-2005
Table 88 - Tame Hay Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1996-2005
Table 89 - Alberta Special Crops - Area, Yield and Production and Price, 1996-2005
Table 90 - Canadian Wheat Board Payments, 1999-00 to 2005-06
Table 91 - Canadian Wheat Board Payments (Initial and Final), 2003-04 and 2004-05
Table 92 - Non-Board Feed Grain Prices, 1995-96 to 2004-05
Table 93 - Sugar Beet Industry, Alberta, 1998-2005
Table 94 - Major Commercial Vegetable Production, Alberta, 1998-2005
Table 95 - Alberta Forage Seed Crops Inspected for Pedigree Status, 1996-2005
Table 96 - Alberta Pedigreed Acres, 1996-2005
Table 97 - Municipal Co-Operative Seed Cleaning in Alberta, 1998-99 to 2004-05
Table 98- Production of Alfalfa Pellets and Cubes in Canada, 1999-00 to 2005-2006
Table 99 - Canadian Processing of Alfalfa Products, 1999-00 to 2005-06
Table 100 - Stocks of Grain on Alberta Farms at July 31, 1969-2005
Table 101 - Farm Supply and Disposition of Alberta Principal Field Crops, 1996-97 to 2004-05
Table 102 - Precipitation Recorded at Selected Alberta Stations, 2000-2005
Table 103 - Crop Area Assessment in Alberta Irrigation Districts, 1999-2005
Table 104 - Irrigation in Alberta by District, 1998-2005
Table 105 - Alberta Hail and Crop Insurance, 1998-2005

Figures
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Figure 31 - Harvested Acreage of Alberta Wheat, Barley and Canola, 2001-2005
Figure 32 - Price of Wheat, Barley and Canola, 1976-2005
Figure 33 - Production of Alberta Wheat, Barley and Canola, 1996-2005
Figure 34 - Stocks of Alberta Wheat and Barley at July 31, 1994-2005

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  Crops - Current Document
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Ashan Shooshtarian.
This document is maintained by Gail Atkinson.
This information published to the web on October 10, 2005.
Last Reviewed/Revised on November 6, 2015.