Crop Conditions as of July 31, 2018 (Abbreviated Report)

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Crop Conditions as of July 31, 2018 (Abbreviated Report)

Provincial crop condition ratings declined a further 1.2 percentage points on the week. The South and Central areas are significantly below the provincial average at 39.6 and 51.6 per cent respectively. The Northwest area is on par with the province at 65.9 while the Northeast and the Peace conditions are bringing up the average at 80.0 and 86.3 per cent respectively (See Table 1). In reviewing the condition of the major crops, spring wheat fell 1.8, barley slipped 1.9, oats declined 1.1, canola sank 2.5 and peas saw the largest decline of 3.6 per cent.

The crop year started with poor sub-surface soil moisture in the South and Central and unfortunately the growing season precipitation has not been enough to support desired crop development (See Map). Current sub-surface soil moisture ratings of good or better for the South region are at 18.9, Central is 43.3, Northwest is 56.1, the Northeast and Peace are considerably higher at 85.4 and 88.5 per cent respectively (See Table 2).

Hot dry weather continued throughout the South and has broadened its hold into the Central Region. The current conditions are reflective of both the sub-surface soil moisture and the growing season precipitation. Continuing concerns with yield and quality potential prevail. The lack of available hay and pasture has led to poorer and hail damaged crops being cut for feed. Harvest may be sooner than expected in selected areas.

Tame hay is short on production, producers have limited carry over feed and, because hay and pasture for sale is scarce, prices are rising. Tame hay and pasture ratings continue to cause concern in most areas of the province. Good or excellent ratings are currently 41.9 and 45.1 per cent respectively, as compared to last week’s numbers of 44.8 and 48.8 percent.

The 2018 Alberta Crop Report Series continues to provide summaries for the following five regions:

Region One: Southern (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost)
  • Hot dry conditions persisted throughout the region with scattered thunderstorms and hail. Generally crop conditions continue to decline. Producers are concerned with how crops are filling and there is potential for light bushel weights and reduced podding on canola.
  • Condition ratings on spring wheat dropped 2.8 percentage points, barley dipped 2.8, canola was down 3.7, and peas dropped 4.1 as compared to last week.
  • Crop staging for spring wheat is moving from late milk to early dough. Barley is short and kernels are aborting, while heads are stuck in the boot. Overall the heat is causing rapid crop advancement. Harvest for winter wheat, peas and barley has started in the SE corner.
  • Scattered showers have held up second cut haying and may affect quality. Pasture growth rated as 28.4 per cent good or excellent with tame hay at 23.5.
Region Two: Central (Rimbey, Airdrie, Coronation, Oyen)
  • Continuing heat, drought and hail will result in reduced yields and quality this year. A few spots were hit with hail and the odd thunderstorm brought some rain.
  • Condition ratings on spring wheat increased 1.4 percentage points, barley slid 0.7, canola was down 1.5 and peas dropped 3.9 as compared to last week.
  • Crops that are under drought stress are burning up and maturing faster than normal. Peas are close to desiccation. Development of spring wheat ranges from milk to early dough, while canola is similar with some still flowering and other fields shifted to podding. Barley average stage is early milk.
  • Second cut hay is not re-growing in some areas and pastures are struggling to keep up with grazing. Pasture growth rated as 41.3 percent good or excellent with tame hay at 40.6.
Region Three: North East (Smoky Lake, Vermilion, Camrose, Provost)
  • This area had patchy and very light showers.
  • Condition ratings on spring wheat dwindled 4.6 percentage points, barley fell 3.0, canola was down 4.2 and peas dropped 3.1 as compared to last week.
  • Hot and dry weather is pushing crop maturity. Conditions are mixed in the region with some areas having received enough rainfall to sustain crops and others quickly advancing.
  • Pasture growth rated as 59.6 per cent good or excellent with tame hay at 53.1. Weather supported producers in getting hay put up this past week.
Region Four: North West (Barrhead, Edmonton, Leduc, Drayton Valley, Athabasca)
  • For the most part, growing conditions remain constant from last week with scattered showers, hot temperatures and some localized hail ranging from minimal to extreme damage.
  • Condition ratings for this region saw little change. Spring wheat slid 1.0 percentage points, barley dropped 1.4, canola was down 1.1 and peas dropped 1.1 as compared to last week.
  • Growth stages are reported in the late milk for spring wheat, with barley and oats still in early milk stage on average for this region. Yield and quality potential are at risk as heads are already formed and filling.
  • Pasture growth rated as 22.2 per cent good or excellent with tame hay at 23.5. Pastures are showing signs of distress and second cut hay is struggling as compared to other years.
Region Five: Peace River (Fairview, Falher, Grande Prairie, Valleyview)
  • The region experienced assorted weather. Some areas were hot and dry while others received rainfall.
  • Condition ratings on spring wheat stayed constant, barley slipped 1.5 points, canola was down 0.5, and peas dropped 3.1 as compared to last week.
  • Crops are progressing nicely with pockets suffering from standing water. Spring seeded cereals are in the early milk stages.
  • Pasture growth rated as 88.0 per cent good or excellent with tame hay at 78.5. Spotty showers delayed baling and resulted in hay being raked again, which will affect quality.

Z. Sangster & J. Sanden Product Coordinators
Agriculture Financial Services Corporation
Business Risk Management Products Unit
Lacombe, Alberta

August 3, 2018

Note to Users: The contents of this document may not be used or reproduced without properly accrediting Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Economics and Competitiveness Branch, Statistics and Data Development Section.
The 2018 Alberta crop reporting series is available on the Internet at:$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sdd4191

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This information published to the web on August 3, 2018.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 23, 2018.