By MEDICINE HAT NEWS on September 25, 2021.
Crop yields in southern Alberta are less than half the 10-year average, according to the latest edition of the Alberta crop report, released Friday.
An extremely hot, dry growing season also pushed the region’s production much lower than other parts of Alberta.
The average yields across all acreage for all crops in Medicine Hat, Foremost, Lethbridge and Strathmore regions was only 42 per cent of normal, compared to 63 per cent across Alberta.
In the south, non-irrigated canola (16.3 bushels per acre), dry peas (18.5), spring wheat (17.8), barley (21.2) and oats (25.9) were all impacted by seemingly relentless heat and a lack of precipitation.
Irrigated plots recorded canola at 55 bushels, peas at 47, spring wheat at 71, durum at 91, and oats at 79.
About 85 per cent of crops were harvested at Sept. 21, with 80 to 90 per cent of wheat, durum and barley in the top grade.
Pasture rating was 61 per cent poor, and there are reports of cattle being turned on to stubble.
In Saskatchewan, some producers in the southwest report it is too dry to plant winter cereals.
About 90 per cent of cropland and pasture in that region is rated as either short or very short of moisture, according to the province’s crop report, to Sept. 20.
“This region has suffered from extreme drought during the entire 2021 growing season and is in desperate need of rainfall to replenish topsoil moisture,” it states.
Only one-tenth of crop acreage is considered to have adequate moisture, with only one-20th of hay and pasture land with sufficient reserve.
About 95 per cent of crops are combined in the southwest, with only some flax, canola and chick peas outstanding. No yield estimates were provided.