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Warm and dry weather helps advance harvest in Alberta

Harvests in Alberta advanced are well ahead of the five and 10-year averages, according to the Alberta Crop Report.
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Harvests in Alberta are well ahead of the five and 10-year averages according to the weekly Alberta Crop Report. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Harvests in Alberta advanced are well ahead of the five and 10-year averages, according to the Alberta Crop Report.

In the report, warm and dry weather helped improve harvest by 25 per cent from the week prior and overall, 59 per cent of major crops have now been combined. Crops combined are about 36 per cent ahead of the five and 10-year averages.

About 17 per cent of major crops are in swath and 24 per cent remain standing. Over the past week among different regions, producers in the Central Region have harvested a further 23 per cent.

The report notes that for most of the growing season, precipitation has been near normal for most of the province. However, over the past 60 days, precipitation relative to normal has either been low or extremely low.

“Dry conditions from mid-July have led to the depletion of soil moisture reserves, but June rainfall contributed to the 2022 growing season,” reads the report.

“Also, there is still ample time between now and the 2023 growing season to build soil moisture reserves and surface water supplies to an acceptable level. A relatively wet and warm fall would help alleviate moisture stress for pastures and hay land.”

In the Central region over the past week, low temperatures and light frost were reported, while some scattered showers slowed down harvests slightly in some areas.

With harvest well underway, 62 per cent of major crops are in the bin, well ahead of the 5-year average of 39 per cent.

About 16 per cent have been swathed and 22 per cent are still standing. About 96 per cent of dry peas, 78 per cent of spring wheat, 83 per cent of barley and 58 per cent of oats are now in the bin. Almost 25 per cent of canola has been harvested and another 38 per cent is in swath.

According to model-based principal field crop estimates from Statistics Canada, nationally, wheat production is expected to increase over 50 per cent year over year to 34.7 million tonnes in 2022.

“This increase is largely attributable to higher anticipated yields, which are expected to rise by 42.1 per cent to 51.3 bushels per acre, roughly in line with the five-year average of 51.0 bushels per acre from 2016 to 2020. Harvested area is also expected to increase by 9.4 per cent to 24.9 million acres,” Statistics Canada said in a recent report.

Compared with 2021, wheat production in Alberta is projected to increase by 80.1 per cent to 11.6 million tonnes, which is largely the result of higher yields (+64.9 per cent to 57.4 bushels per acre), while harvested area is expected to rise by 9.3 per cent to 7.4 million acres.

Canola production in Alberta is also expected to increase by 40.3 per cent to 6.1 million tonnes. Higher yields (+44.3 per cent to 41.7 bushels per acre) are expected to offset the decrease in harvested area (-2.8 per cent to 6.4 million acres).