Moisture decent so far

Precipitation in the last week both helped and hindered Alberta producers. In areas where seeding is complete moisture is helping with development of the crops.

Meanwhile in areas that have faced challenges seeding this year’s crop, rain has caused further delay. Generally, all areas would benefit from some warmer weather. Provincial seeding of the 2020 crop is at 93 per cent, up 14 per cent from last week. This is slightly behind the five-year average of 94 per cent. The South, Central and the Northeastern regions are all but finished seeding with the major crops all nearing 100 per cent of the acres in the ground. The northern parts of the province are still facing seeding challenges. The Northwest is 88 per cent complete, six per cent behind the five-year average, while the Peace is 72 per cent complete, 18 per cent behind the five-year average. 

Across the province, tame hay growth rated as good or excellent is at 84 per cent compared to the five-year average of 54 per cent. Pasture growth is at 83 per cent good or excellent compared to the province’s five-year average of 54 per cent. Even with forage crops currently in very good shape, they would benefit from some warmer days. 

Surface soil moisture is very good throughout the province with 86 per cent rating good or excellent. Regionally, the Peace, North East and Central areas are all rated around 90 per cent good or excellent while the South and North West areas are nearing 80 per cent good or excellent ratings. There are concerns of excessive moisture particularly in the North West where 21 per cent is rated as having excessive moisture. A late spring snow melt and ample moisture during the growing season has resulted 

in near or above average soil moisture reserves across the majority of the province’s growing areas (see map). Excess moisture has left the

Southern Peace, North West and west-half of the Central Regions with above average soil moisture reserves, estimated to be above one in six-year highs. 

Regional Assessments: 

Region One: Southern (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost) 

•Heavy rains and strong winds in some areas have caused some crop damage resulting in some reseeding. Crop growth would benefit from some warm weather. 

•Spring seeded cereals are approaching early tillering stage of the Zadocs growth scale, fall seeded cereals are in late stem elongation stage, close to 80 per cent of dry peas are at least at the one to three node stage, while over half of the seeded canola has now reached one to three leaf stage. 

•Pests are becoming more prevalent, and some areas have reported moderate infestations of flea beetles and gophers. 

•Pasture conditions (tame hay shown in brackets) are rated as 15 (14) per cent fair, 73 (70) per cent good, and 13 (16) per cent excellent.

Region Two: Central (Rimbey, Airdrie, Coronation, Oyen) 

•Rain occurred throughout most of the region this week with some areas receiving in excess of two inches. The precipitation is welcome but has slowed seeding or resulted in a few reseeded crops. Dry warm days are needed to help with seeding and crop emergence. 

•Spring seeded cereals are in the early seedling stage of the Zadocs growth scale, fall seeded cereals have just entered the stem elongation stage, less than half of the dry peas have reached the one to three node stage, while less than a third of the seeded canola has reached the one to three leaf stage. 

•Pests are becoming more prevalent, with some areas reporting moderate infestations of flea beetles, grasshoppers, and gophers. 

•Pasture conditions (tame hay shown in brackets) are rated as 18 (14) per cent fair, 71 (75) per cent good, and 11 (11) per cent excellent.

Agricultural Moisture Situation 

Synopsis 

Since the last report on May 23, 2020, most of the Southern Region and large parts of the Peace Region and some of the North West Region remained relatively dry with most of these areas receiving less than 10 mm. In contrast, all others areas received at least 10 mm with a major storm this last weekend, dumping more than 50 mm along a narrow band stretching from Calgary, all the way north to Lac La Biche. For many of those with seed in the ground, or managing pasture or hay land the rains have been very beneficial. 

Precipitation over the past 30-days 

In contrast, for those still attempting to access land with heavy equipment, wet weather over the past several weeks has been a concern for a large area of the province affecting much of the Southern Peace Region, most of the North West and west-half of the Central Regions and the extreme south-western edge of the North East Region. 

In the past 30 days, these areas have seen at least 80 mm of rain, grading to over 150 mm to areas west of Drayton Valley. During this time frame, most of these areas see weather this wet on average less than once in 6 to 12 years, with many areas this wet less than once in 12 to 25 years. 

Soil Moisture Reserves 

A late spring snow melt and ample moisture since early April has led to near or above average soil moisture reserves across about 80% of the provinces growing areas. Excess moisture has left much of the Southern Peace Region, most of the North West and west-half of the Central Regions and the extreme south western edge of the North East Region with above average soil moisture reserves, estimated to be above one in 6-year highs. Warm, dry weather is needed through these areas in the near term. 

Perspective 

Looking out over the next 5-days cool, wet weather is expected to prevail with upwards of 50 mm possible for many parts of the province lying north of Calgary stretching well up into the Peace Region. Up to 100 mm is expected along the north east side of the province, between Lloydminster and Fort McMurray. All current indications suggest that there will not be a drying trend expected in the near future. 

Province wide, June is typically the wettest month of the year, and for all but the South, rivalled closely by July. Looking back at historical averages, southern Alberta’s wettest time of the year is typically during the second and third week of June. Through central parts of the province, and extending up through the Peace Region, the wettest four week period generally extends through the last two weeks of June and the first two weeks of July. 

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