Southern Alberta crops struggle, but rest of province near five-year index

[UPDATED: Aug. 10, 2018]* CNS Canada — Farmers in Alberta have just started harvest, but early yield reports are showing reductions in southern areas.

Dryland crops in southern Alberta are projected to come in at 74.6 per cent of the five-year index, according to Alberta’s Agriculture Financial Services Corp.

Daniel Graham, manager of business risk management programs at AFSC and Jackie Sanden, insurance product co-ordinator at AFSC said in a joint emailed response that less than two per cent of acres have been harvested in the south and 0.1 per cent in central areas. Other regions have not yet started.

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Across Alberta, estimated yields for the top five major dryland crops of spring wheat, durum, barley, canola and dry peas are expected to reach 93.7 per cent of the five-year index.

Data provided by AFSC estimated that yields for the southern region will be well below that, however, at 29.1 bushels per acre for canola, 29.3 bpa for dry peas, 32.2 bpa for durum, 32.3 bpa for spring wheat and 38.7 bpa for barley.

Sanden and Graham said in the emailed response that northeast, northwest and the Peace District are looking good as far as the five major crops are concerned, with yields expected to be 99, 97 and 119 per cent of the five-year index, respectively.

Province-wide, most cereal crops are in the late milk or early dough stages, while oilseeds and pulses have podded so rain now will not likely affect yields on most fields, said the email.

However, rain may still help fill kernels in some spring-seeded cereals, and late-seeded cereals destined for feed could still benefit from rain because they are only now approaching the heading stage.

Graham and Sanden said that harvest timing is actually about normal in Alberta, but it is earlier than expected because many producers got off to a late start at seeding time. The forecast for more hot, dry weather should continue to speed crop development.

Estimated dryland yield (bushel/acre)

     South    Cent     NE     NW    Peace    Alta

S.Wht      32.3      46.4    51.3    58.4    47.5      45.8

Durum    32.2      40.3     —        —        —          33.3

Barley      38.7      60.8    71.0    73.0   68.8      57.6

Canola     29.1      39.5     41.4    42.3   43.1      39.3

Dry Peas 29.3      38.8    45.3    46.4   46.3     37.8

5-yr index 74.7%   91.8% 99.1% 97.3% 119.1% 93.7%

*A previous version of this story displayed incorrect numbers 

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