About 90 per cent of canola in the province are in the podding stage, according to the latest Alberta Crop Report. (Advocate file photo)

About 90 per cent of canola in the province are in the podding stage, according to the latest Alberta Crop Report. (Advocate file photo)

Central Alberta crops in good condition, but more rain needed

Latest Alberta Crop report was released Friday

Crops in most of Central Alberta are still in good condition, but more rain is needed to improve soil moisture and fill the crops, according to the provincial government’s latest crop report.

“Hot weather benefited crops that were behind due to the dry spring, although some canola fields are still in late flowering stage,” said the Alberta Crop Report released Friday.

Over the past two weeks, precipitation has varied in the central and northern parts of the province, the report said. The southern half of the central region region received less than 10 mm, with some receiving less than five mm of moisture.

During this period, temperatures in Alberta have generally remained above normal, which contributed to crop development and drying out the wet areas throughout the central and northern parts of the province.

An Aug. 1 hail storm caused severe damage in a few Central Alberta Counties.

READ MORE: Central Alberta market farmer calls for crop insurance coverage

Additionally, haying and silaging have been progressing quickly to build up feed reserves.

Producers in the region are wrapping up first cut hay, with 90 per cent completion for both dryland and irrigated hay, slightly behind normal.

For dryland, first cut average yield is estimated at 1.5 tons per acre, and for irrigated, at 2.3 tons per acre (both above the 5-year averages). Quality is rated as 81 per cent good to excellent for dryland hay and 85 per cent good or excellent for irrigated.

Pasture growing conditions (tame hay conditions shown in brackets) are reported as 12 (10) per cent poor, 23 (21) per cent fair, 61 (64) per cent good and 4 (5) per cent excellent.

Surface soil moisture is rated (sub-surface soil moisture ratings shown in brackets) at 13 (11) per cent poor, 26 (31) per cent fair, 45 (41) per cent good, and 12 (13) per cent excellent, with 4 (4) per cent excessive.

Provincially, crop development from the beginning of July was accelerated by the above normal temperatures and, at this point, is on par with five-year averages.

Spring seeded cereals across the province are mostly in the beginning of the dough development growth stage, while fall seeded crops are in the ripening stage. About 90 per cent of canola and 99 per cent of dry peas, lentils and chickpeas are in the podding stage. Harvest operations have begun for fall-seeded crops and pulses in the south and central regions.

Provincial crop growing condition ratings declined slightly from the July 26 report. Currently, 70 per cent of crops in Alberta are in good or excellent condition, compared to the 5-year average of 56 per cent.

Yield estimates are above both the five-year and 10-year averages in all regions.

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