Alberta Agriculture's bi-weekly crop report showed a puzzling divergence in the crop condition and yields as of Aug. 10, although the changes were slight. The good-to-excellent rating for major crops fell in a range from 0.3 for oats to 2.4 points for durum, with the good-to-excellent rankings ranging from 15.4% to 20.1% for major crops.
At the same time, the estimated dryland yield ranged from a modest 0.2-bushel-per-acre drop for canola to 24.7 bpa, the only major crop to show a decline during the previous two weeks, to an increase of 1 bpa for peas to 23.4 bpa.
When compared to 2020 yields, the estimated yields for the five major crops shown as of August 10 range from down 38.6% from Statistics Canada's official estimate for 2020 for canola at 24.7 bpa, to down 49.7% for barley from Statistics Canada's official estimate at 37.2 bpa.
When compared to Statistics Canada official estimates, Alberta Agriculture's dryland estimates for canola, peas and wheat as of August are the lowest seen since 2002. The 2002 drought trimmed the province's production for these three crops to a volume 46% below the five-year average for canola, 56.8% below for peas and 57% below for spring wheat.
Alberta Agriculture's dryland yield estimate of 46.9 bpa for oats is the lowest value seen since 1967 on Statistics Canada's official tables. The 37.2 bpa estimate for barley is the lowest yield seen in Statistics Canada's official tables since 1974.
When Alberta's final yield estimate released each year is compared to Statistics official estimates, however, results tend to be lower for most crops and are lower when compared to the average. While the methodologies differ, the Statistics Canada estimate is also based on all acres as opposed to the province's dryland estimate.
As seen on the attached chart, the closest estimates when comparing the province's estimate to the official estimate is seen for canola and dry peas. Over the past five years, the Alberta estimate for canola has varied from 4.5 bpa below the provincial average to 0.9 bpa higher than the official estimate, averaging 0.9 bpa below the official estimate over the past five years (2016 to 2020). A similar situation is seen for dry peas, with the provincial estimate averaging just 0.2 bpa below the official estimate.
This spread widens for the other crops shown, with official estimates 4.8 bpa higher for spring wheat, 4.9 bpa higher for barley and 9.9 bpa higher for oats.
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