It's early days for Alberta's harvest, with today's weekly crop report indicating 11.5% of the province's crop harvested, up from the 6.1% five-year average as of Aug. 22. Progress was seen largely in the Southern Region, with 36.3% of all-crops harvested, while just 2.6% of the Central Region, 1% of the North East and 1.5% of the Peace Region completed.
The government reported a lower all-crop condition for the week of 54.2% Good to Excellent, down 1.7% and the eighth drop in nine weeks. The Southern Region in the province has fared poorly during the past two months with a portion of the region noted to have received less than 40% of average precipitation in the June 23 to Aug. 21 period. This week's report shows conditions stabilizing in the south with the Good to Excellent crop condition rating inching up by 1% to 34.3%.
Perhaps not a favorable sign, it was the estimated crop condition for the Central Region that contributed the most to the falling provincial estimate, falling 3.1 points in the past week to 47.2% Good to Excellent. Over the past number of weeks, the government pointed to the need for precipitation in this Region with crop filling taking place, while AAFC maps show that the past 30 days have resulted in well-below-average precipitation for the area.
In the July 25 report, the province was calling for dryland yields to be in line with the five-year average, while the Aug. 22 report is looking for yields to be 5% to 10% below their five-year averages. As is seen on the attached chart, estimates for cereal yields (spring wheat, durum and barley) have been reduced slightly in each bi-weekly report since the initial estimates were released, as of July 25. The estimated yield for the province's canola crop has held steady over this period, while the dry pea yield estimate was trimmed in the Aug. 8 report but showed a modest improvement since.
The July 25 crop report includes an interesting reminder of the link between yields and estimated conditions. On Aug. 18, 2015, the province's Good to Excellent rating for all crops was indicated at 28.1%, well-below the 54.2% reported today. One week later, the Aug. 25 2015 crop report shows "crop yield estimates continue to improve as more harvest information becomes available," with yield averages improving in four of five regions. Alberta Ag reports final 2015 yields were roughly 10% below the previous five-year average.
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