Overall, Alberta crops are rated at 80% good to excellent as of June 13, which compares to the reported five-year average of 73%. As seen on the attached graphic for selected crops, this rating exceeds 80% for all crops except for oats that are rated at 76.2% G/E and canola at 76.7% G/E. For most crops, this initial rating is neck and neck with the ratings issued this time last year, while a glance at this graphic would suggest that ratings issued in mid-June in 2013, 2014 and 2016 as well as the current year are tightly grouped and suggest a similar start to the crop.
Keeping in mind the similar start seen in 2013, 2014 and 2016, we look at final yields for these years as reported by Statistics Canada. The oat crop showed the greatest variability in yields, with a 17.9 bushel per acre spread between the lowest and highest final yields reported for these three years. Next was barley with a 10.4 bpa spread, while canola was reported at 8.4 bpa, spring wheat at 7.7 bpa, peas at 6.8 bpa and durum at 5.7 bpa, showing the least variability. The five-year average yield (2012-2016) falls within the range of yields realized in the years discussed for all crops except for durum which fell just slightly below the lower-end of the yields achieved in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
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One concern for the Alberta crop overall is the deteriorating ratings as one moves from the south of the province to the north. The good-to-excellent rating for the southern region is reported at 87.8%, while this deteriorates to a low of 63.3% in the North West. The three northern regions continue to deal with wet soils, with 37.3% of the North West, 28.8% of the North East and 12.7% of the Peace region rated as having excessive surface soil moisture, which could have negative effects for developing crops. Current NOAA precipitation maps point to chances of further moisture for the north late in the seven-day window.
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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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