Volunteer farmers work to harvest wheat during the annual Central Alberta Foodgrains Bank Project Harvest Day at a field just east of Lacombe. (Advocate file photo)

Driest summer since 2003 in Red Deer, Central Alberta

Officials are anticipating an average to below-average harvest as Central Alberta experiences the driest summer since 2003.

Harry Brook, Alberta Agriculture crop specialist, said the crop quality should be high despite the lower than usual quantity of harvested crops.

“The beauty of these kinds of conditions with harvest is you get a rapid dry down,” said Brook. “You can get some very good quality with wheat because if you get no rain on it, you can get very nice colour.”

One of wheat’s grading factors is its colour.

Kirk Torneby, Environment Canada meteorologist, said an early June rain skewed the rain totals for the month and the summer. So far this summer, there have been 168.4 mm of rain, which is well under the 30-year average of 260 mm.

“The story of the summer has been hot and dry,” said Torneby. “It’s been a building dryness due to a lack of precipitation through July and August.”

While June was slightly above average in terms of wet weather, 95 mm compared to an 89.3 mm average, July and August were especially dry. In July, 53.8 mm fell, much less than the 94.4 mm average and in August 19 mm of rain fell, compared to a 71.6 mm average.

“It was the ninth driest August on record.”

Brook said how the weather impacted producers largely depended on soil type and what cloud they were under.

“There are people who have average and above-average crops,” said Brook. “But the majority are probably average to below-average.

“The upside is, with the weather we’ve had, it’s really pushing crops towards maturity. Especially the later seeded crops.”

He noted there was significant late seeding of canola because of wet fields.

“I don’t think we’re going to have a bumper crop year,” said Brook. “There will be spots with really good yields because they got rain at the right time.

“It’s going to be a missed bag.”

It’s a change from last year’s harvest when it rained throughout the fall months and it created a crop quality issue.

The dry weather has led to Red Deer County to declare a fire ban on all outdoor fires including those issued with burn permits.

mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

Just Posted

Construction underway at Medicine River Wildlife Centre in Red Deer

The new building is twice the size of the old one

Fish for free

No license is required to ice fish on Family Day weekend

Music industry struggles to shake ugly legacy of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll

TORONTO — Allegations of sexual misconduct swirling around pop-rockers Hedley have put… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer rings in the Chinese New Year

A couple hundred fill Festival Holiday to ring in the Year of the Dog

WATCH: From humble beginnings Red Deer-based wrestling promotion is growing

It wasn’t that long ago that Dylon Featherstone and the Canadian Wrestling… Continue reading

WATCH Replay Red Deer Feb. 18: Your weekly news highlights

Watch news from Red Deer and Central Alberta

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Life or death main decision for school shooting suspect

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The evidence against the Florida school shooting suspect… Continue reading

Man who stole millions from Seabird Island band sentenced to 4.5 years jail

Stephen MacKinnon sentenced in Chilliwack court for stealing $2.3 million over eight years

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

WATCH: Polar dippers brave icy water to raise money for Sylvan Lake charities

The water may have been cold, but the amount of money raised… Continue reading

WATCH: Cat yoga — the purr-fect de-stresser, says Red Deer-area cafe owner

Felines and humans stretch together each month at Alley Cat Cafe

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month