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Weather slows Alberta harvest

Rainfall last week continued to dampen harvest operations in much of Alberta, although “significant” progress has been made overall, Alberta Agriculture and Food said yesterday in its crop conditions report for the week ending Sept. 13.

Harvest remains behind the curve at 38 per cent complete, compared to 45 per cent at this time in most years and 14 per cent two weeks ago, the province reported. Farmers in southern Alberta have “virtually wrapped up” for the year, but combining has just begun in most of the Peace River region, the province’s northernmost farming area.

For example, durum, oats and canola harvesting have barely begun, if at all, in the Peace and northwest, but those crops are about two-thirds harvested in the south. Dry peas in the south were 94 per cent harvested in the south, but just 17 per cent in the Peace. About 82 per cent of canola crops were in swath in the Peace.

Overall, harvest progress was estimated at 37 per cent complete for spring wheat, 26 per cent for canola, 41 per cent for barley, 19 per cent for oats, 65 per cent for durum and 74 per cent for dry peas.

Second-cut haying was estimated 73 per cent complete, with quality ranging from fair to good. Pasture conditions overall were two per cent “excellent,” 33 per cent good and 25 per cent poor, with almost half of southern pastures reported poor.

Frost in central and northern areas on the night of Sept. 12 may have led to some deterioration in crop quality, particularly in spring cereals, and likely some “significant” yield losses in later-seeded crops, the province reported. Grade estimates for crops already harvested were average for barley and canola and above average for wheat.

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