The percentage of highly rated Central Alberta crops have seen a sharp decline when compared to the five- and 10-year averages.
As of Aug. 8, just 35.3 per cent of all crops are rated good to excellent within the central region, according to the latest Alberta Crop Report, published by the provincial government last week.
This is 0.1 percentage point lower than July 25, and 28.1 percentage points lower than the five- and 10-year averages of 63.4 per cent.
The only region with a lower percentage of crops rated in good to excellent conditions during the 2023 season is southern Alberta, which sits at 28.2 per cent. Provincially, conditions rated good to excellent are currently at 43 per cent, 15 and 19 per cent below the 5- and 10-year average, respectively.
A few reports of showers around the central region are helping pods and kernels to fill.
Currently two per cent of all crops in Central Alberta are harvested, as combining of fall seeded crops and pulses has started. Spring cereals are on average entering soft dough, ahead of their five-year average between late milk and early dough. At 90 per cent podding, staging of all broadleaves is consistent with the five-year average.
Even though showers have been scattered across the region, but surface and sub-surface soil moisture conditions have still declined. Surface soil moisture conditions (sub-surface in brackets) is currently rated at 26 (28) per cent poor, 45 (42) per cent fair, 27 (30) per cent good, 3 (1) per cent excellent and zero per cent excessive.
Poor yields are reported in the southeast part of the region resulting in some crops being cut for feed.
First cut dryland hay is nearly complete, averaging 0.9 tons per acre, below the 5-year average of 1.4 tons per acre. Second cut will happen in an estimated 33 per cent of fields and is currently 16 per cent complete.
The majority of yield estimates are below both the five- and 10-year averages in all regions except the Peace Region. Provincially, the estimated dryland five-year yield index of major crops is 84.7, indicating that provincial yields are estimated at 15.3 per cent below the five- year averages.
Regionally, the five-year yield index is the best in the North West Region where yields are estimated to be 7.1 per cent above the five-year averages. The five-year yield index estimates are reported the lowest in the South and Central where they are 33.3 and 26.6 per cent below the five-year average, respectively.