Snow, cold grind Alberta harvest to virtual standstill

A crew at Leeuwenburgh Farms chops silage corn Oct. 2 near Diamond City, Alta., after a heavy snowfall hit the region on the last weekend of September. As temperatures warmed in the afternoon of this harvest, the truck had to be pushed with a tractor due to muddy conditions.  |  Adrian Moens/AJM Seeds photo

WINNIPEG (MarketsFarm) – Last weekend’s dump of snow nearly coupled with cold temperatures brought the Alberta harvest to a complete halt, according to the province’s latest crop report.

For the week ended Oct. 1, the province-wide harvest managed to improve to 33.7 percent from 28.1 percent the previous week. This year’s pace was slightly above this time last year, but approximately 20 points behind the five-year average.

From north to south, parts of Alberta received snow from about 10 centimetres up to one metre of snow. The harvest was at a complete stop in southern and central regions, with little progress in northern and Peace River regions. Farmers, especially those in the northwest used grain dryers to a great extent.

During the night of Sept. 30 into the morning of Oct. 1, the low fell to minus 4 Celsius throughout most of Alberta, which resulted in a killing frost.

The canola harvest was at 15.6 percent province-wide, up from 11.8 per cent from the previous week. The south remained the furthest along going from 53.3 to 61.3 percent complete. Elsewhere, the canola harvest was just underway in the northwest at 1.2 per cent done and Peace River reached 9.1 percent with the rest of the province in between.

The wheat harvest was bogged down as well, going from 26.9 percent to 34.7 percent complete. The south again was furthest along having gone from 66.9 to 79.2 percent done. The rest of Alberta ranged from 17.5 to 23.2 percent, with the northwest vaulting from 5.7 to 22.5 percent complete over the week.

The snow and rain helped improve soil moisture ratings with good to excellent ratings going from 67.2 percent to 77.6 percent, which was more than 10 points above the five-year average.

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