Farmers across Alberta are busy harvesting their crops. Many are working long hours to on swathers, combines, trucks and balers to bring them in.
Alberta Agriculture’s latest crop report shows most crops are doing well, although some were damaged by hail and insects this year. Harvesting is most advanced in southern Alberta where 31.5 percent of the crop has been swathed or combined, compared to 14.3 percent throughout the province.
Alberta Agriculture Crop Specialist Harry Brook said, “In the hot, humid south crops tend to develop a little bit faster.”
Greg Van Esveld, who was combining barley east of Lethbridge said, “We’ve taken off some winter wheat which was pretty rough because it had quite a bit of hail damage. We’re just starting on this barley field and it looks better.”
Alberta Agriculture says the overall quality of crops is very good because of favorable harvest weather. 89 percent of crops in southern Alberta are rated good to excellent, while crops across the province are very good condition. It expects they’ll be ten to 15 percent above long term averages.
However soil moisture conditions are not good. They have declined significantly since late July when 88 percent of the province had good to excellent soil moisture. The report says that’s dropped to 72 percent. Farms in southern parts of the province need rain so farmers can plant winter wheat. According to the report, 55 percent of southern Alberta has poor to fair amounts of soil moisture.
“The soil’s pretty dry,” said Greg Van Esveld.
Farmers have begun harvesting special crops. Some dry beans have been undercut and farmers have dug some early potatoes.
Hay and pasture ratings have declined due to dryness and the time of year. 15 percent of hay and pastures are in excellent condition, 52 percent are good, 27 percent are fair and six percent are in poor condition.
22 percent of the second cut of dryland hay has been done 54 percent of the second cut of irrigated hay in southern Alberta is done.
Alberta Agriculture says warm weather during the past two weeks helped crops develop. However frost could damage crops, especially in areas northeast and northwest of Edmonton.