June 19th, 2024

Crop report: Hot, dry conditions forcing early harvest

By Collin Gallant on August 18, 2018.

Medicine Hat News

Relentless heat and little rain across southern Alberta again have producers planning an early harvest, according to the latest Alberta crop report.

An extremely dry summer in 2017 led farmers to cut growing season short, and similarly, Alberta’s agriculture ministry states combining of peas, barley and oats has begun in earnest in the south.

The report, released Friday, states producers are also cutting fields for feed.

Crop conditions fell slightly to 40 per cent rated good or excellent. That’s below the five-year average of 62 per cent, but up slightly from 2017.

Specific to Medicine Hat, Foremost, Lethbridge and Strathmore regions, spotty light showers haven’t alleviated moisture concerns, with heat blamed fo rbelow average yileds.

About five per cent of all crops are in the bin, led by peas. About half of pasture land is considered fair for moisture, but only 20 per cent good.

Last week the ministry stated first-cut hay production averaged just under one ton per acre dryland and 2.3 tons per acre on irrigated land. No second cut on dryland is expected, though second pass of ifrrigated growth could result in 1.9 tons per acre. That could be augmented by greenfeed, it estimates.

Southwest Saskatchewn

About one-10th of the crop in southwest Saskatchewan is in the bin with analysts saying any new rain won’t help rapidly advancing crops, but is badly needed to help pastures recover.

That comes as the province’s crop report states blistering temperatures continued to Aug. 13 and with scant rainfall.

Shaunavon reported only 3 mm of rainfall (about one-eighth of an inch), while most locales reported nil or only trace amounts.

Driest regions lay between Maple Creek and Val Marie.

Across the southwest, topsoil moisture for cropland is rated 40 per cent short and 50 per cent very short, with even drier results on hay land and pastures

All crop districts are reporting that at least 83 per cent of cropland and 89 per cent of hay land and pasture are short to very short topsoil moisture at this time.

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