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Alberta Yield Estimates Way Down from Year Ago

Alberta crop condition ratings and early yield estimates are down sharply, as more hot, dry weather has led to the continued deterioration of annual and perennial crops.

The latest bi-weekly crop report on Friday pegged overall crop conditions across the province at under 20% good to excellent as of Tuesday. That is down from 37% good to excellent just two weeks earlier and is roughly 50 points below the five- and 10-year averages. As recently as mid-June, Alberta crops were rated over 80% good to excellent and above the five and 10-year averages.

Meanwhile, the first yield estimates of the season put this year’s average spring wheat yield in the province at just 29.5 bu/acre, 48% below the province’s 2020 average of 56.8 bu. The average canola yield is seen falling to just under 25 bu/acre, versus 40.2 bu last year, while the projected oat and barley yields of 46.7 and 36.3 bu/acre are down from 85.9 and 74 bu a year ago. Dry pea yields are expected to average 22.4 bu/acre, compared to 41.5 bu in 2020.

Yield potential in the province’s South Region is the worst, forecasted at roughly half of normal. In contrast, yields in the North West are expected to average nearly 70% of normal.

rop conditions in the Central region experienced the most significant reduction with a 43-point decline over the past two weeks to fall to just 16% good to excellent. Crop conditions in the South (24% good to excellent), North East (21%), and North West (20%), which all experienced close to a 10-point decline. The Peace region faired the better with less than a 5-point decrease to 15% good to excellent.

The provincial spring wheat and durum crops were rated about 22% good to excellent as of Tuesday, down from 39% and 32% two weeks earlier. The oat and barley crops came in at 20% and 18% good to excellent, versus 34% and 41% two weeks ago, while the condition of the canola crop dropped 16 points to 17% good to excellent.

At 18% and 21% good to excellent, the condition of the pea and lentil crops was down from 36% and 31% two weeks previously. At 28% and 30% good to excellent, the mustard and flax crops were holding up relatively better although still down from 42% and 31% two weeks earlier.

Meanwhile, the report suggested further condition declines are likely due to forecasted high temperatures for the upcoming week.

Crop staging for spring cereals is mid-way through the milk stage while fall cereals are in the hard dough, as compared to the five-year averages of completed flowering and soft dough respectively. Oilseeds are 79% podding, well ahead of the five-year average of 43 per cent, while dry peas are at 97% podding, well ahead of the five-year average of 77%.

Region One: South (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost)

• High temperatures and lack of any notable rainfall in the region this week continue to take a toll on dryland crops.

• Overall, crop conditions are 36 per cent, below the five-year average of 60 per cent good or excellent. Conditions rating for sugar beets are 79 per cent, potatoes 52 per cent, and dry beans at 95 per cent good or excellent.

• Crop stages for spring cereals are mostly in the mid to late milk stage, while fall-seeded cereals are entering the ripening stage. Canola is over 83 per cent podding and pulses are over 95 per cent podding. • Pasture is currently rated as 51 per cent poor, 32 per cent fair, 16 per cent good, and 1 per cent excellent.

• First-cut dryland hay is reported as 99 per cent completed with estimated yields of 0.8 ton per acre and quality rated as 33 per cent good or excellent. First-cut irrigated hay is 100 per cent complete with estimates of 2.2 ton per acre yields, and 58 per cent rated as good or excellent quality. Second-cut irrigated hay is six per cent complete with 1.9 ton per acre yield estimates and quality ratings are at 54 per cent good or excellent.

Region Two: Central (Rimbey, Airdrie, Coronation, Oyen)

• Hail, sometimes severe, accompanied rain in the northern and western parts of region. Extreme hot and dry conditions continue in the south and eastern parts of the region.

• Overall, crop conditions are 59 per cent, below the five-year average of 75 per cent good or excellent. Crop stages for spring cereals are mostly in the early to mid-milk stage, while fall-seeded cereals are in the soft to hard dough stage. Canola is 75 per cent podding and pulses are at least 90 per cent podding. • Pasture is currently rated as 39 per cent poor, 36 per cent fair, and 25 per cent good.

• First-cut dryland hay is reported as 96 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.2 ton per acre and quality rated as 54 per cent good or excellent. First-cut irrigated hay is 100 per cent complete with estimates of 2.0 ton per acre yields, and 70 per cent rated as good or excellent quality. Second-cut irrigated hay has not started.

Region Three: North East (Smoky Lake, Vermilion, Camrose, Provost)

• Scattered rains over parts of the region will help fill the crops. Bonnyville, St. Paul, and Wainwright areas also reported smoke and cool temperatures slowing crop advancement.

• Overall, crop conditions are 63 per cent, below the five-year average of 83 per cent good or excellent. • Crop stages for spring cereals are mostly in the early to mid-milk stage, while fall-seeded cereals have started to ripen. Canola is 73 per cent podding and dry peas have finished podding.

• Pasture is currently rated as 67 per cent poor, 18 per cent fair, and 15 per cent good.

• First-cut dryland hay is reported as 95 per cent completed with estimated yields of 0.9 ton per acre and quality rated as 78 per cent good or excellent.

Region Four: North West (Barrhead, Edmonton, Leduc, Drayton Valley, Athabasca)

• Sporadic rain was received throughout the region this week, which will help fill the existing heads and pods.

• Overall, crop conditions are 43 per cent, below the five-year average of 63 per cent good or excellent. • Crop stages for spring cereals are mostly in the mid to late milk stage, while fall-seeded cereals are in the early to soft dough stage. Canola is 70 per cent podding and dry peas are 94 per cent podding.

• Pasture is currently rated as 44 per cent poor, 44 per cent fair, and 12 per cent good.

• First-cut dryland hay is reported as 99 per cent completed with estimated yields of 1.2 ton per acre and quality rated as 58 per cent good or excellent.

Region Five: Peace (Fairview, Falher, Grande Prairie, Valleyview)

• Isolated showers and smoke was common throughout region. The showers are helping to fill out the canola and cereal crops.

• Overall, crop conditions are 57 per cent, below the five-year average of 72 per cent good or excellent. • Crop stages for spring cereals are mostly in the mid to late milk stage, canola is 93 per cent podding and dry peas have finished podding.

• Pasture is currently rated as 63 per cent poor, 32 per cent fair, and 5 per cent good.

• First-cut dryland hay is reported as 97 per cent completed with estimated yields of 0.8 ton per acre and quality rated as 20 per cent good or excellent.

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