Alberta Crop Report - May 6, 2010

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 This information has been made available by Agriculture Financial Services Corporation.

Prepared by:
James Wright
Project Manager
Actuarial & Program Readiness
Telephone: 403-782-8336

Seeding is off to a slow start as extremely wet weather in southern Alberta has hampered early progress. It is estimated that 7% of the province has been seeded in comparison to the 5 year average of 23%. Crop emergence is minimal. Fall seeded crops are in good condition with less than 10% rated as poor.

Soil moisture has improved greatly over the past 14 days with significant precipitation occurring in the south, central and NE portions of the province. Precipitation is needed in the NW and the Peace regions. Surface soil moisture (top 6 inches) is rated 8% poor/ 26% fair/ 33% good/ 29% excellent/ 4% excessive. Subsoil moisture is rated 32% poor/ 25% fair/ 23% good/ 18% excellent/ 2% excessive.

Forage crops in all areas need warmer weather to improve growth prospects while precipitation is also needed in the NW and Peace regions. Hay is rated 20% poor/ 42% fair/ 34% good/ 4% excellent. Pastures are rated 31% poor/ 35% fair/ 30% good/ 4% excellent.

Southern Alberta
Seeding started in early April. On April 13-14, southern Alberta received its typical early to mid April snow event of 10 – 40 mm of precipitation in the form of heavy wet snow. The heaviest accumulations were along the Highway #3 corridor and lower. Since that time, the region has received a further 40 – 60 mm in 3 additional precipitation events which will shutdown seeding in most areas until May 15th at the earliest.

Seeding is approximately 8% completed. Historically, seeding in the region would be 30 – 50% completed. Fall seeded crops are rated at 85% good/excellent condition. Forages are rated 3% poor/ 20% fair/ 58% good/ 19% excellent but need warmer temperatures to take advantage of the abundant moisture.

Soil moisture ratings show the effect of the ongoing precipitation with surface moisture rated 0% poor or fair/ 28% good/ 57% excellent/ 15% excessive. Subsoil moisture is rated 0% poor/ 8% fair/ 37% good/ 48% excellent/ 7% excessive.

Central Alberta
Prior to April 28, the region was very dry as virtually no precipitation had been received since the snow had melted. On April 28, the entire region received from 20 mm in the east portion to 30 – 40 mm of rain in the central and western portions. A small amount of seeding had occurred prior to the rain which has since been virtually shutdown due to continuing small precipitation events and cold temperatures delaying dry up. Surface moisture is rated 2% poor/ 16% fair/ 26% good/ 54% excellent/ 2% excessive. Subsoil moisture is rated 12% poor/ 16% fair/ 38% good/34% excellent/ 0% excessive.

With seeding estimated at 4% complete, it falls a little behind its historical average of 12%. A return to warm, dry weather should see seeding progressing into ideal conditions across the entire region. Forage ratings should improve significantly with the moisture but still are in need of warmer temperatures. Forages are rated 14% poor/ 55% fair/ 31% good/ 0% excellent.

North East Alberta
The region has received between 30 – 50 mm of precipitation since April 23 which has improved soil moisture conditions but stopped seeding. Seeding progress is estimated at 3% complete which is only slightly below historical levels of 6% completed for this period. Surface soil moisture is rated at 9% poor/ 37% fair/ 43% good/ 9% excellent/ 2% excessive. Subsoil moisture is rated 39% poor/ 32% fair/ 24% good/ 5% excellent indicating more precipitation will be needed during the growing season to bring this crop to harvest. Forage ratings for hay are 46% poor/ 27% fair/ 27% good/ 0% excellent. Pastures are rated 65% poor/ 14% fair/ 21% good/ 0% excellent. These ratings should improve with the precipitation received and warmer temperatures but reflect the negative effects of 2009, especially on pastures.

North West Alberta
Precipitation has been light with most areas receiving less than 35 mm but without a significant rainfall event. Seeding is estimated at 8% completed which is close to historical levels. Producers have been hesitant to seed in hopes of receiving rain especially for shallow seeded canola. Surface soil moisture is rated 23% poor/ 50% fair/ 25% good/ 2% excellent. Subsoil moisture is rated 77% poor/ 20% fair/ 3% good/ 0% excellent. Forages are suffering due to the cool, dry conditions. Hay is rated 23% poor/ 60% fair/ 17% good/ 0% excellent. Pastures are rated 56% poor/ 35% fair/ 9% good/ 0% excellent.

Peace River Block
Most of the region has received less than 10 mm of precipitation this spring. The dry conditions have been a benefit to producers who were unable to harvest all their crops last fall due to the early snow which refused to leave. The early spring has allowed producers to seed approximately 8% of their crops which is above historical levels. Surface soil moisture levels are adequate for seeding at 5% poor/ 32% fair/ 46% good/ 16% excellent/ 1% excessive but mask a potential problem with subsoil moisture rated 37% poor/ 52% fair/ 11% good/ 0% excellent. Forage crops are rated 21% poor/ 44% fair/ 33% good/ 2% excellent.

Prepared by Agriculture Financial Services Corporation in cooperation with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. For more information, please contact the writer, James Wright.

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This information published to the web on May 11, 2010.