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Alberta Crop Report
9/25 12:41 PM

OMAHA (DTN) -- The following are highlights from Alberta's weekly crop progress report for conditions as of Sept. 20, released Sept 23 from the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation in partnership with the Alberta Crop Reporting Program.

The Alberta government's weekly report stated ongoing harvest progress with above-average yield and quality expectations. As of Sept. 20, eighty-seven% of all crops were swathed or combined with an expected 10-year yield index of 107 and with grading expectations of the provincial wheat, barley, canola, and pea crops ahead of 10-year averages.

Combining across the province on all crops is now 77% complete and well ahead of the 10-year average of 53%. Two weeks ago on Sept. 6, combining of all crops was 37% complete. Alberta farmers have been able to harvest 40% of all crops in the past two weeks. Specifically this past week, the North East and North West made significant harvest progress with both increasing combine completion on major crops by 21% through the week. However, the Peace region received meaningful rainfall which slowed last week's progress. Overall, for this time in the season, the South and Peace are ahead of harvest compared to this time last year but Central, North East and North West regions are behind. Across the province, combine completion on all crops is relatively unchanged year-over-year (79% at this time last year). Potatoes are the only crop significantly behind long-term averages for harvest completion.

Dryland yields are expected to index at 112 and 107 on five- and 10-year indices respectively. Barley, oats, lentils chickpeas, and flax are outperforming and are all expected above 120% of their five-year normals. Of all 11 crops -- spring wheat, durum wheat, winter wheat, barley, oats, fall rye, canola, dry peas, lentils, chickpeas, potatoes), none have yield expectations below their five-year averages.

Irrigated yield expectations are, as expected, much less variable relative to their long-term normals, with most crops ranging in expectations from 98 to 103% of normal. Chickpeas and flax are the notable irrigated exceptions with irrigated chickpeas expected at only 91% of five-year average and irrigated flax outperforming at 130% of five-year yield expectations. Notable for chickpeas is that irrigated chickpeas have a 4.2 bushels per acre (bpa) lower yield expectation than dryland chickpeas in the South (where all irrigated chickpeas are reported). Irrigated sugar beets in the South are expected at relative average yields with a 103 five-year index.

Quality expectations are also being reported favorably on major crops relative to long-term normal with exception of durum. Hard Red Spring Wheat is expected at 68% 1 CW (54% on five-year average) and is reported in particularly high quality in the Peace. Barley, canola, and dry pea quality expectations are modestly ahead of their long-term averages and oats marginally behind long-term normal quality. Durum is the notable exception with a quality downgrade relative to normal, as 12% more than normal of the total provincial crop is expected at 2 CW grade. Hay production across the province for the combined growing season is behind long-term average. Yields across the province averaged 1.6 t/acre on dryland first cut (1.5 on 10-year average), 0.9 t/acre on dryland second cut (1.1 on 10-year average), 2.1 t/acre on irrigated first cut (2.4 on 10-year average) and 1.5 t/acre on irrigated second cut (1.8 on 10-year average). Pastures are more marginal than normal with 73% of all pasture rated as poor or fair (55% on 10-year average).

Deteriorating soil moisture trends continue, with exception of the Peace region which received meaningful precipitation during the past week. As shown in the two maps below, near normal precipitation in this growing season helped deliver on the above average yields reported for 2022; however, soils are now back at pre-June low soil moisture levels. The map on the right shows large areas of the province now back to 'moderately low' to 'very low' soil moisture levels relative to long-term normal. Many areas of the province, with exception of the Peace, have received less than 30 millimeters (mm) of rain since late July and a drying trend persists with areas around Edmonton, Bonneville, Red Deer, Olds, and Medicine Hat having dry conditions that occur only once in 25 years. June rain resulted in the above reported favorable yields for this growing season but roughly 70% of the province is now back to below normal soil moisture. Both fall and winter precipitation will now be looked to for next year.

Breaking down by region:

REGION ONE: SOUTH (STRATHMORE, LETHBRIDGE, MEDICINE HAT, FOREMOST)

-- Overall harvest is nearing completion and crop reporters are communicating hopes for post-harvest precipitation.

-- In this region, 91% of the crops are in the bin, 3% are in swath and 6% are standing. All crops are over 95% combined with exception of canola (78%), flax (83%), potatoes (28%), dry beans (65%) and sugar beets (seven percent).

-- Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface shown in brackets) are rated as 41 (52)% poor, 48 (37)% fair, 10 (11)% good and 1 (zero)% excellent.

REGION TWO: CENTRAL (RIMBEY, AIRDRIE, CORONATION, OYEN)

-- Significantly the highest barley quality region of the province with nearly 50% expected at malt grade.

-- About 77% of crops are in the bin, 13% are in swath and 10% remain standing. Pulses are all reported as 100% combined, whereas canola is only 46% combined, flax 50% and potatoes 20%.

-- Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface shown in brackets) are rated as 7 (15)% poor, 42 (44)% fair, 46 (40)% good and 4 (zero)% excellent.

REGION THREE: NORTH EAST (SMOKY LAKE, VERMILION, CAMROSE, PROVOST)

-- Barley and peas largely expected of lower quality that provincial average but wheat and canola in the North East are of very high quality.

-- About 73% of crops are in the bin, 14% are in swath and 13% remain standing. Canola and flax are 53 and 49% combined respectively.

-- Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface shown in brackets) are rated as 31 (22)% poor, 33 (36)% fair, 35 (39)% good and 1 (4)% excellent.

REGION FOUR: NORTH WEST (BARRHEAD, EDMONTON, LEDUC, DRAYTON VALLEY, ATHABASCA)

-- Large areas of the Peace region received 30-70 mm of rain over the past week and despite the rain, combining has progressed from 20% to 68% in the past two weeks.

-- Currently, about 68% of crops are in the bin, 10% are in swath and 22% are standing. Dry peas are 88% combined. Spring wheat, barley, and oats are all roughly 75% combined, whereas canola is 56% combined.

-- The Peace region received meaningful rain in the past week and surface soil moisture reports relative to sub-surface moisture highlight that. Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface shown in brackets) are rated as 2 (42)% poor, 6 (19)% fair, 49 (39)% good and 44 (zero)% excellent.

 
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