Seeding progress in Alberta jumped from 13% complete to 31% complete in the past week ending May 16, though the pace is less than half of the 64.5% five-year average (2012-2016). Optimal conditions over the past two years, with 75% seeded as of May 17 in 2016 and 77% seeded as of May 19, 2015, have proved a hard act to follow and have also acted to pull the average higher. The three-year average (2012-2014) is 56% complete for this period.
The situation is much the same as seen in Saskatchewan in Thursday's Saskatchewan Agriculture estimates. Planting of all crops is estimated at 63.9% complete in the Southern Region of Alberta, which is behind the five-year average for this region that is calculated at 79.8%. At the same time, the most delayed region is the Northwest Region, with an estimated 5% seeded as compared to the same-week five-year average of 59.3%.
Heavy rains across the north have once again challenged both spring seeding and the harvest of 2016 crop over the past week. AAFC's Percent of Average Precipitation map continues to show much of northern Alberta having received more than 200% of average precipitation in the April 1 to May 18 period, with up to 2 inches of precipitation hitting areas of the province in the past week.
Since the initial May 2 crop report, all three northern regions have seen the percentage of surface soil moisture rated as excessive dip in the May 9 Crop Report only to deteriorate in the following week. This assessment for the Northeast Region shows the percentage of surface soil rated as excessive at a stubbornly high 40.1%. The Peace Region estimate for this rating is 21.9%, while the Northwest Region shows this rating at 46.8%, higher than the estimate released in the initial report.
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It is not often that the spring report includes both harvest and planting activity. An estimated 61% of the 2016 unharvest crops are now off, with roughly 460,000 acres to go. While spread over four crop regions of the province, the Northeast and Northwest continue to face the largest challenge while close to 50% of the ground is dealing with excessive moisture.
The Five-Day National Weather Service precipitation maps shows the possibility of showers in northern and southern Alberta, while Day 6 and Day 7 of the seven-day window shows increased chances of precipitation building in the northwest of the province. DTN's six- to 10-day forecast calls for temperatures to average above normal in the western prairies, although rainfall is expected to average near to above normal in the northwestern prairies.
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