Harvest is progressing steadily in Central Alberta despite reports of minor delays due to scattered showers and smoke, according to the latest Alberta Crop Report.
As of Sept. 19, 65.9 per cent of crops in Central Alberta have been combined, shows the provincial government’s report released on Sept. 22. This is a higher percentage than the five-year average, which is 53.7 per cent, and the 10-year average, which is 48.4 per cent.
Provincially, harvest progress of major crops is reported as 65 per cent completed, progressing 21 per cent since last week’s report. Eastern areas of the central region are reporting that harvest is nearing completion.
Provincial yield estimates for major crops have improved since Sept. 5, with multiple regions noting that yields continue to surprise to the upside. Estimates for barley and canola moved the most with yield expectations increasing by 2.4 bushel per acre and 1.9 bushel per acre, respectively. Expectations for spring wheat and oat yields both increased by 1.1 bushel per acre. Dry pea yields expectations also increased by 0.4 bushel per acre.
Increasing yield expectations have improved the five-year yield indexes in all regions of the province, resulting in the expectation that provincial major crop yields will be 91 per cent of the five-year average.
While the weather has supported harvesting operations throughout the province, a lack of moisture has reduced the percentage of provincial soil rated as having good-to-excellent moisture reserves. The overall portion of the province rated as having good-to-excellent surface soil moisture conditions is at 33 per cent, a decrease of three per cent from last week and below the five-year average of 54 per cent.
The Central region reported a seven per cent decrease to 18 per cent in good-to-excellent surface soil conditions. Sub-surface (below 6”) moisture is reported as good-to-excellent for 22 per cent of the region.
Cooling nighttime temperatures have raised concerns of frost events occurring in the central region, the crop report states.
The percentage of the province reported as having good-to-excellent sub-surface moisture was reported as 33 per cent this week, a decrease of two per cent. Regionally, improvements in the South and North West regions only mitigated the reductions in the Central, North East, and Peace regions.