Wednesday, 11 May 2016 14:33

Crop conditions look dry in Alberta as of May 3

Written by  Alberta Agriculture
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Alberta producers enter the 2016 crop production season with many of the same questions and concerns as last year and maybe more so.

Precipitation last fall provided some soil moisture replenishment following the dry conditions of 2015, but amounts were generally insufficient to recharge the subsoil layer.
A warm, dry winter resulted in little snow cover to seal the soil and provide some early moisture for the crop to use.
The snow was quick to leave in March providing the opportunity for an early start to seeding for those who could take advantage.
Seeding is off to another faster than average start with 21 per cent of the province seeded versus 27 per cent last year. The five-year average for this date is nine per cent and the long term average is 15 per cent. Approximately three per cent of crops have emerged.
Soil moisture is a huge concern in all regions. Producers have slowed or delayed seeding of shallow seeded crops such as canola, in hopes of receiving additional precipitation.
The 2016 Alberta Crop Report Series continues to provide summaries for the following regions:
Region One: Southern (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost)
• Soil moisture conditions are quite dry and get progressively worse as you proceed from east to west. Surface soil moisture is sufficient for germination but precipitation will be needed to maintain growth.
• Soil moisture ratings are below those of last year with surface moisture rated 45 per cent fair (26 per cent last year) and 39 per cent good (53 per cent in 2015). Subsoil moisture rated poor to fair in 50 per cent of region (28 per cent last year).
• 50 per cent of crops are seeded compared to 71 per cent in 2015. Five-year average is 26 per cent, long-term average of 33 per cent. Nine  per cent have emerged.
• Hay/pastures slow to start growth with 18 per cent rated poor and 44 per cent rated fair (two per cent poor, 15 per cent fair last year).
Region Two: Central (Rimbey, Airdrie, Coronation, Oyen)
• Best soil moisture conditions in the province with surface moisture rated 60 per cent good or excellent and subsoil moisture rated 72 per cent good or excellent.
• Soil moisture ratings highest in the east and declines as you proceed west. Opposite of what you would normally expect. Precipitation is badly needed in the west.
• 19 per cent of crops seeded versus 21 per cent last year. Five-year average is five per cent and long-term average of 12 per cent. Less than one per cent emerged.
• Hay/pasture ratings higher than last year. Fifty-seven  per cent of region rated good or excellent compared to 47 per cent in 2015.

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