Heat wave wreaks havoc on crop conditions in southern Alberta

·2 min read

The Alberta Crop Report, made publicly available online every other week, stated “prolonged periods of heat with little moisture are beginning to take a toll on crop conditions,” and that was published June 28, even before the recent stint of hot, dry weather in the high 30s.

“The provincial crop condition rating declined 13 percentage points from the last full report on June 15 to 68 per cent rated as good to excellent, compared to the five-year average of 76 per cent, and the 10-year average of 74 per cent,” stated the Alberta Crop Report.

“The temperature has been all over the place with early hot spells and late snow,” said Rob Gardner of Transition Medicine Hat. “And that’s always a challenge in growing any kind of crop.”

The report said the oncoming province-wide heatwave would affect these numbers further. Region One: South, includes Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Foremost, reported “surface soil moisture ratings decreased by four points over the last week to 19 per cent rated good or excellent.”

“Crop conditions within the South region are estimated at 49 per cent good or excellent, and are noticeably lower than the five-year average of 72 per cent and 10-year average of 75 per cent. The extremely warm temperatures and lack of moisture are taking a toll on all dryland crops. Spring-seeded cereals are mid-way through the boot stage, with winter cereals now flowering. Well over half of the oilseed and pulse crops are in the rosette stage, with over 30 per cent starting to flower.”

Gardner indicated that even with irrigation, he and other gardeners still have problems keeping things well watered in weather like what we have seen over the past week.

“The provincial crop condition rating declined 13 percentage points from the last full report on June 15 to 68 per cent rated as good to excellent.”

You can find the full report at alberta.ca

LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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