Alberta Crop Report - July 5, 2007

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The July 5, 2007 Crop Report is also available as a PDF document on the AFSC website.

Prepared by:
James Wright
Project Manager
Research & Program Development
AFSC, Lacombe AB

Warmer weather prevailed over much of the province providing improved conditions for crop growth. Precipitation was light in most areas with the exception of the Fairview Region. To date this year, the incidence of hail has been light in all parts of the province with few storms causing significant crop damage.

Unseeded acres will be significant this year. It is estimated that there could be threequarters of a million acres throughout the province which could be classified as unseeded acres. The bulk of these acres occur in a 50 mile radius along the Highway #2 corridor from Claresholm/Vulcan in the south to Westlock/Athabasca in the north. The greatest concentration is in the Olds/Red Deer/Lacombe area in central Alberta. There are also a significant number of unseeded acres in the Fairview Region, concentrated principally in an east/west line across the central portion of the region.

In general, crops are performing very well despite being 7 – 14 days later in crop development than normal. Soil moisture is good to very good in most areas with subsoil moisture rated as 1% poor/ 12% fair/ 44% good/ 37% excellent/ 6% excessive. 88% of pastures and tame hay is rated good/excellent. The harvesting of 1st cut hay is underway with 18% of the dryland and 67% of the irrigated completed. Yields are generally above average and quality is rated good to excellent.

Provincially, crop conditions and growth staging are reported as follows:

Lethbridge Region
The region has been experiencing hot, dry weather. Subsoil moisture levels are declining and are currently rated at 2% poor/ 29% fair/ 54% good/ 13% excellent/ 2% excessive. There are concerns in the extreme southern portion of the region, along the US border, that continued hot weather is causing drought stress with 70% of the area rated only as fair for subsoil moisture.

It is estimated that approximately 80,000 acres may remain unseeded in southern Alberta, principally in the NW corner of the region around High River/Vulcan/Strathmore. Pasture and hay crops continue to receive high ratings at 1% poor/ 12% fair/ 64% good/ 23% excellent. Most of the poor and fair ratings originate from the drier south portion of the region. Haying is progressing rapidly with 35% of the dryland and 78% of the irrigated acres completed. Yields are very good and quality is high with 87% of the crop rated at good/excellent quality.

Crop conditions and growth staging for the region are as follows:

Red Deer Region
The region experienced warmer weather with spotty showers which has benefited crop development. Currently, much of the region is 10 – 14 days behind the long term average. Subsoil moisture is rated at 0% poor/ 2% fair/ 40% good/ 36% excellent/ 22% excessive.

There are significant unseeded acres in the western and central portions of the region, estimated at 250,000 acres. Standing water continues to be a problem on lower lying land in the area.

Crop conditions and growth staging for the region are as follows:

Haying is underway with 3% completed. Yield potential is very good as 98% of the region is rating pastures and hay in good/excellent condition.

Camrose Region
The region has been experiencing warmer, drier weather. The east and NE portions of the region received some timely precipitation on areas which were becoming dry. In the western portion, moisture conditions are generally good but there are some dry pockets starting to appear which are affecting hay and pasture condition ratings. Grasshopper infestations are reported to be over threshold levels in these drier areas. Currently, the region is approximately 7 – 10 days behind for crop development.

Unseeded acres are estimated at 150,000 acres for the region. They are spread across the entire region but particularly concentrated in the central portion of the region in the Camrose/Leduc/Lamont area and in the NW in the Westlock/Athabasca area.

Subsoil moisture is rated 0% poor/ 10% fair/ 63% good/ 26% excellent/ 1% excessive in the east portion and 4% poor/ 15% fair/ 50% good/ 30% excellent/ 1% excessive in the west. Haying is 12% completed in the east with good yields and very good quality reported. 34% of haying is completed in the western portion with slightly above average yields and good quality. Overall hay and pastures are rated at 90% good/excellent in the east and 85% good/excellent in the west.

Crop conditions and growth staging for the region are as follows:

Fairview Region
The region received precipitation during the last week of June which included heavy amounts in the far northern area. The first week of July has brought warmer temperatures. Crops are estimated to be 10 – 14 days behind normal for crop development. Significant frost damage has been reported across the north portion of the region (Manning north) which has damaged some canola to such an extent to be worked down.

Subsoil moisture levels are good with 0% poor/ 1% fair/ 11% good/ 86% excellent/ 2% excessive. Significant grasshopper infestations are being reported across 20% of the region, principally along the west side which was very dry in 2006.

Unseeded acres in the region are estimated at 150,000 acres with the bulk of the acres in the central portion of the region in the Spirit River/Fairview area and the Falher/Peace River area. There are also a large number of acres around Grande Prairie in the south portion which will likely remain unseeded in 2007.

Haying is underway with approximately 6% completed. Yields are reported to be fair to good with good quality. 81% of the hay and pastures in the region are rated good/excellent.

Crop conditions and growth staging for the region are as follows:

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This information published to the web on July 13, 2007.