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Harvest will be above-average: crop report

A lot can happen between now and harvest, but Central Alberta farmers are currently on track for an above-average crop. A report issued by Agriculture Financial Services Corp. on Friday projected that 2014 yields for this region would be five per cent above the 10-year average.

It calculated this year’s canola output at 36.5 bushels per acre, spring wheat at 43.5 bushels, durum at 38.8 bushels, barley at 62.3 bushels, oats at 66.2 bushels and field peas at 41.1 bushels.

However, these figures would still fall 20 to 25 per cent short of last year’s yields, when farmers enjoyed a bumper harvest. And they’re not as high as those anticipated in several other areas of Alberta this year.

Crops in the Peace River region are expected to beat the 10-year average by 20 per cent, and the northeast and northwest areas are projected to be 14 per cent better.

Southern Alberta has the lowest anticipated yields, at two per cent above the 10-year average, with the province as a whole expected to be up five per cent. Much of Central Alberta received 15 to 20 mm of precipitation prior to July 29, said the AFSC report — with rainfall benefiting farmers to the north as well.

“With most crops now entering the kernel-filling stage, this moisture will be very beneficial for both yield and maturity,” said the report.

In Central Alberta, 63.7 per cent of the crops were rated good or excellent, down from 68.4 per cent a week earlier and below the five-year average of 73.4 per cent.

A decline in crop ratings in Central and Southern Alberta was offset by higher numbers in the northeast and northwest regions of the province.

As of Tuesday, spring cereals in Central Alberta were in the mid-pollination stage, with winter cereals in the early dough stage The report estimated that local canola was 63 per cent podded and field peas 73 per cent podded.

Subsoil moisture for the region was rated at 64 per cent good or excellent, a drop of one per cent.

Hay and pasture land was rated at 58 per cent good or excellent, with first cut haying 85 per cent complete, as of July 29.

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