Southern Alta. barley harvest underway

CNS Canada — Harvest started this week for some barley crops in southern Alberta — parts of which have reported little or no rain for weeks.

“I’m in southern Alberta (where) we just started harvest on our barley (on Monday), and I would say that the barley crops look good, (but) we’ve been a bit dry,” said Brian Otto, a farmer at Warner, Alta. and chairman of the Barley Council of Canada.

“I’m south of Lethbridge so we haven’t seen any rain here for over a month. So things are premature-ripening here.”

Otto said he’d expect barley yields to be around 50 bushels per acre to 60 bushels per acre, although he doesn’t know what the quality will be like yet.

“Last year was an exceptional year, way beyond our averages,” said Otto. “I would say that right now what we’re cutting here is an average to a little above average barley crop.”

Acreage is expected to stay close to the 6.09 million that Statistics Canada forecast on June 27; however, Otto said there may be some acres lost to severe weather.

“What we don’t know is what we’ve lost,” he said. “There’s been some really severe hailstorms in that Calgary-to-Red Deer corridor, and that’s barley country up there, and so I don’t know how much damage has been done there.”

There’s been more moisture north of Lethbridge, which may make for better yields than in the southern part of the province, he added.

Barley crops in the south of the province have also had minimal issues with disease and insects, he said.

“We had leaf rust down in this part of the country but I sprayed for that, I put a full layer application on,” said Otto. “But certainly that again is not consistent throughout the whole area. Some farms had a little trouble with the leaf disease and some got by without.”

— Marney Blunt writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

 

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