Alta. crops in overall good condition, pest issues eyed

CNS Canada — While a large portion of crops in southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan are struggling due to excessive rainfall and flooding, crops in Alberta appear to be faring quite well at this time, according to an Alberta crop specialist.

Most of the province I think crop growth is coming along quite nicely, no major issues in terms of excess water or excess heat or anything like that,” said Mark Cutts, a crop specialist at the provincial Ag-Info Centre in Stettler. “So I think in general the crop growth has been moving along quite nicely the last few weeks.”

As in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, crops in Alberta saw delayed seeding dates, but beneficial weather enabled Alberta crops to keep up to speed, he said.

“Once seeding did start there weren’t any real delays to prevent farmers from seeding,” he said. “We may have started a little bit late, but just the fact that we were able to roll through seeding without any kind of major weather delays allowed it to be done fairly effectively.”

DOWNLOAD: Alberta crop conditions as of June 30, 2014

While crops in Alberta are progressing quite well at the moment, Cutts said there are some areas facing pest problems, particularly in the Peace River region.

“We had some wheat midge issues last year which caught them by surprise, and based on what they’re starting to see again this year, it looks like the wheat midge will be around in pretty full force in that part of the province again,” he said.

“It hasn’t been an issue in general up there, but this year and last year look like they’re going to have some issues with that particular pest.”

There are also a few mild pest issues in parts of southern Alberta, he said.

“Down south, they kind of go through the usual,” he said. “They’re scouting and starting to spray when necessary, but (pests are) almost a given in southern Alberta south of Highway 1.”

While Alberta crops are faring far better than those in the other two Prairie provinces, certain pockets of Alberta are struggling with soil conditions.

“The Peace River area comes in as being on the drier side if we compare it to the rest of the province,” said Cutts. “As of June 24, areas (in the region) were in low to sometimes very low soil moisture levels.”

Cutts added there are a few areas with too much moisture as well, including a section in the northeast, in the west-central area and around Lethbridge.

The rest of the province “is sitting around normal,” he said.

— Marney Blunt writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

 

 

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