Precipitation map | Tables and figures
The 2008 Crop Season
The 2008 crop season was off to a slow start, with cool spring temperatures causing delays in seeding operation and crop emergence. In terms of precipitation, rain, along with snow received in some areas, brought various amounts of moisture across the province. In general, soil moisture reserves at the surface level were adequate for seed germination. A lack of moisture at the sub-surface level was a concern, particularly in the Southern Region and some eastern parts of the Central Region.
The cool weather persisted through the first three weeks of June. As a result, crop emergence was delayed and growth was slow. By the end of June, crop development was 7-10 days behind normal. Despite the late development, crops were mostly in good condition, mainly due to adequate soil moisture reserves. The province received significant amounts of precipitation in June, with many areas reporting crop damage from hailstorms.
Rain continued to bring moisture to most areas of the province during the first two weeks of July, with the exception of the Peace Region. For the remainder of July, precipitation received was mostly confined to the North West Region, and northern and eastern parts of the Peace Region. In those areas not receiving much precipitation, soil moisture reserves and crop conditions deteriorated significantly. The most noticeable deterioration occurred in the western and southern parts of the Peace Region, where about half of the crops were in poor condition at the end of July. Overall, crop development was about 10-14 days behind normal. Also, in July, hailstorms caused some severe crop damage, mostly in the Southern Region.
In August, weather conditions were mainly hot and dry during the first two weeks, followed by seasonal temperatures with light precipitation. Crop conditions and yield potentials varied considerably across the province, ranging from above average in the Southern Region to well below average in western and southern parts of the Peace Region. Elsewhere in the province, crop yield potentials were mostly above average. Due to the late development (10-14 days behind normal), crop harvest progress was slow. Based on the Alberta Crop Report, 7.9 per cent of the crop in the province was in the bin, as of August 28.
Cool, damp weather conditions during the first two weeks of September slowed crop maturity and harvest operation. Frost occurred in many areas, resulting in some deterioration in crop quality. Some grains were taken off damp and tough, and needed to be dried. A return of favorable weather conditions in mid-September allowed crop harvest to progress rapidly. As of September 25, crop harvest was 60.2 per cent completed, based on the Alberta Crop Report.
October began with favorable weather conditions, with temperatures above seasonal levels and reaching record highs in many areas. Crop harvest in the province was virtually completed by mid-October. In many areas, crop yields were higher than expected earlier. Overall, provincial average yields for most major crops were estimated to be significantly above average. For specialty crops, yields ranged from average to above average. With respect to crop quality, estimated grades were average for barley and canola, and above average for spring wheat and durum.
Insects and Crop Diseases
In 2008, cabbage seedpod weevils caused some crop damage, mostly in the Southern Region. Wheat midges and gophers were problematic in some areas. Also reported were problems with other pests, including sawflies, flea beetles, root maggots, wireworms, lygus bugs, grasshoppers, and army cutworms.
Many producers were concerned about diseases in cereal crops, including stripe rust, tan spot on wheat, net blotch on barley, and some head and kernel diseases. Sclerotinia and clubroot in canola, and some pulse crop diseases, also occurred in 2008.
Forage and Pasture
Due to cool spring temperatures, pasture and tame hay were off to a slow start as well. Based on the Alberta Crop Report released in late May, pasture condition was 15.8 per cent poor, 33.1 per cent fair, 45.8 per cent good, and 5.3 per cent excellent, with a similar rating reported for tame hay.
In June, pasture condition showed some improvement, the result of adequate soil moisture reserves. As of June 19, pasture was 7.0 per cent poor, 28.7 per cent fair, 52.4 per cent good, and 11.9 per cent excellent, based on the Alberta Crop Report. However, this was short lived, as the lack of precipitation in July and August caused pasture to deteriorate. By the end of August, less than one-third of the pasture in the province was rated as good, a substantial decline from conditions in June.
With respect to tame hay, favorable moisture reserves in June resulted in well above average yields from the first cut. Yields from the second cut were mostly below average, due to the lack of precipitation in July and August. Overall, the provincial average hay yield in 2008, was significantly above average, mainly as a result of an excellent first cut. In terms of quality, the majority of hay crop was rated as good or excellent. Additionally, producers harvested some of their annual cereals as greenfeed and silage, to secure forage supplies.
On December 4, 2008, Statistics Canada released its report entitled "November Estimate of Production of Principal Field Crops, Canada, 2008". Based on the report, total production of principal field crops in Alberta reached a record 30.3 million tonnes, or 12.9 per cent higher than in 2007, and 29.2 per cent above the ten-year average. The record production stemmed from high yields and increased harvested acreage. Provincial average yields for major grains and oilseeds were estimated to be higher than in 2007, and their ten-year averages. As well, total seeded and harvested acres for principal field crops were up significantly from 2007, the result of strong grains and oilseeds prices.
In 2008, total production of spring wheat jumped 39.0 per cent, to a record 7.3 million tonnes. The record production was due to an increase in harvested area and excellent yields. The provincial average yield was estimated at 47.3 bushels per acre (up 17.7 per cent from 2007), while total harvested area increased 18.2 per cent, to 5.7 million acres. For durum wheat, production jumped 60.9 per cent to 1.1 million tonnes, as both yields and harvested area increased significantly from a year earlier. The provincial average yield was estimated at 43.0 bushels per acre, up 32.7 per cent from 2007, and harvested area increased 21.1 per cent to 0.9 million acres. Similarly, due to a larger harvested area and improved yields, total production of winter wheat more than doubled its 2007 level, reaching 0.4 million tonnes in 2008. Overall, total production of all wheat increased 43.8 per cent from 2007, to a record 8.7 million tonnes.
The total barley production in 2008 was estimated at 5.4 million tonnes, up 6.5 per cent from 2007, and 8.9 per cent above the ten-year average. The provincial average yield was estimated at 66.7 bushels per acre, 21.3 per cent higher than in 2007, while harvested area fell 12.2 per cent to 3.8 million acres. Total oat production, estimated at 0.5 million tonnes, was down 13.7 per cent from 2007, and 23.5 per cent below the ten-year average. The lower production was due to a 19.4 per cent reduction in harvested acreage, the result of competition for land from other crops. The provincial average yield was estimated at 70.2 bushels per acre, or 7.0 per cent higher than in 2007.
In 2008, canola production reached a record 4.3 million tonnes. This was up 27.1 per cent from 2007, and 65.4 per cent above the ten-year average. The marked increase in production was due to record harvested area and significantly higher yields. Total harvested area was up 3.4 per cent to 5.2 million acres. With respect to yield, the provincial average was estimated at 36.9 bushels per acre, or 23.0 per cent higher than in 2007. Also, production of dry peas in 2008 jumped 38.7 per cent, to a record 0.7 million tonnes. This stemmed from a combination of higher yields and record harvested area. The provincial average yield, estimated at 38.4 bushels per acre, was 17.8 per cent higher than in 2007. The harvested area increased 17.6 per cent, to a record 0.7 million acres.
Hay, Greenfeed and Silage Production
The total tame hay production in Alberta in 2008 was estimated at 9.3 million tonnes, based on the Statistics Canada report "November Estimate of Production of Principal Field Crops, Canada, 2008". This was the second highest production on record, and was fuelled mainly by significantly higher yields. As well, it was up 0.7 per cent from 2007, and 45.4 per cent above the ten-year average.
The near record tame hay production reduced the need for greenfeed and silage production. A survey conducted by the Statistics and Data Development Branch of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development pegged the provincial greenfeed production at 0.9 million tonnes, or 17.7 per cent lower than in 2007. Likewise, silage production fell 16.7 per cent, to 2.6 million tonnes. The marked decline in greenfeed and silage production was attributed to lower harvested acreage. Total area harvested for greenfeed declined 22.1 per cent from 2007, to 0.3 million acres, while silage acreage fell 20.9 per cent to 0.4 million acres. Due to improved growing conditions, most crops produced higher greenfeed and silage yields than in 2007. As in previous years, barley, oats and mixed grains were the major crops harvested for greenfeed and silage production in 2008.
Crop Prices and Marketings
In 2008, local and international grains and oilseeds markets rallied until the fall when the international financial crisis began. Overall, prices reached record highs for wheat, barley, canola, and many other crops. In Alberta, the average price of all wheat increased 55.1 per cent to $7.81 per bushel, while the average price for barley was estimated at $4.57 per bushel, up 26.6 per cent from a year earlier. For canola, the average price was estimated at $11.25 per bushel, 32.3 per cent higher than in 2007. Similarly, prices for other crops rose markedly in 2008. With respect to marketings, year-over-year changes varied substantially among the major crops. Total wheat marketings in 2008 was estimated at 6.2 million tonnes, down 8.7 per cent from a year earlier, while barley marketings declined 22.6 per cent, to 1.5 million tonnes. These declines were mainly due to low production in 2007. For canola, the combination of record production in 2008 and high production in 2007 contributed to the all-time high marketings, which was estimated at 3.8 million tonnes, or up 17.8 per cent from a year earlier.
To view the precipitation map, click here to open the attached .pdf file.
Tables and Figures
|Table 73 - Major Crop Production, Canada and Provinces, 1999-2008|
|Table 74 - Acreage and Production of Principal Field Crops, Prairie Provinces and Canada, 2008|
|Table 75 - Alberta Principal Field Crops - Area, Yield and Production, 2004-2008|
|Table 76 - Alberta Major Crops - Acreage, 1957-2008|
|Table 77 - Alberta Major Crops - Yield, 1957-2008|
|Table 78 - Alberta Major Crops - Production, 1957-2008|
|Table 79 - Alberta Major Crops - Unit Value, 1957-2008|
|Table 80 - Alberta Wheat Crop by Type - Area, Yield and Production, 1999-2008|
Table 81 - Alberta Summerfallow Area by Census Division, 2001-2008
|Table 82 - All Wheat Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1999-2008|
|Table 83 - Spring Wheat Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1999-2008|
|Table 84 - Durum Wheat Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1999-2008 |
|Table 85 - Barley Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1999-2008|
|Table 86 - Oats Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1999-2008|
|Table 87 - Canola Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1999-2008|
|Table 88 - Tame Hay Acreage and Production for Alberta Census Divisions, 1999-2008|
|Table 89 - Alberta Special Crops - Area, Yield and Production and Price, 1999-2008|
|Table 90 - Canadian Wheat Board Payments, 2002-03 to 2008-09|
|Table 91 - Canadian Wheat Board Payments (Initial and Final), 2006-07 and 2007-08|
|Table 92 - Non-Board Feed Grain Prices, 1998-99 to 2007-08|
|Table 93 - Sugar Beet Industry, Alberta, 2001-2008|
Table 94 - Major Commercial Vegetable Production, Alberta, 2001-2008
|Table 95 - Alberta Forage Seed Crops Inspected for Pedigree Status, 1999-2008|
Table 96 - Alberta Pedigreed Acres, 1999-2008
Table 97 - Municipal Co-operative Seed Cleaning in Alberta, 1998-00 to 2007-08
|Table 98 - Stocks of Grain on Alberta Farms on July 31, 1972-2008|
|Table 99 - Farm Supply and Disposition of Alberta Principal Field Crops, 1999-00 to 2007-08|
|Table 100 - Precipitation at Selected Alberta Locations, 2003-2008|
Table 101 - Crop Area Assessment in Alberta Irrigation Districts, 2002-2008
|Table 102 - Irrigation in Alberta by District, 2001-2008|
Table 103 - Alberta Crop Insurance, 2001-2008 (as of March 31, 2009)
|Figure 31 - Harvested Acreage of Alberta Wheat, Barley and Canola, 2004-2008|
Figure 32 - Price of Alberta Wheat, Barley and Canola, 1979-2008
|Figure 33 - Production of Alberta Wheat, Barley and Canola, 1999-2008|
|Figure 34 - Stocks of Wheat and Barley on Alberta Farms on July 31, 1999-2008|| || |