(Resource News International) — Grain and oilseed crops across much of Alberta are in serious need of warm temperatures in order to speed up the maturity process and avoid damage from an early frost, according to a provincial crop specialist.
“It’s going to be a race to see if the crops are going to be able to reach maturity before the onset of frost,” Harry Brook, a crop specialist with the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at Stettler, said Tuesday. Most crops in the province are still about three weeks behind in development, he estimated.
“There are some peas in select areas of Alberta being harvested at present, but other than that few crops have developed enough to even consider swathing,” he said.
Some of the harvesting that is also currently underway in the province is for greenfeed for livestock, he said.
There was some significant damage to crops in the High Prairie area of the province from frost, Brook said.
“Temperatures dropped to -5°C and remained at that low for a number of hours, virtually decimating crops in that area,” he said.
Another issue for producers in the province, is the different stages of growth of each field.
“In some instances, producers have three stages of growth in their fields,” Brook said. “For some there was enough moisture for the crop to grow, but then the heavy rains in early July provided another round of growth.”
Some fields have a third growth developing, also because of recent moisture, he said.
As for the quality of the crops in Alberta, Brook said it appears that there will be few fields that will see the top grades, especially given the lateness of development.
“There may be a few fields of canola that will see the top grades, but most of the wheat, with the exception of southern Alberta, will be No. 2 or lower,” he said. Very little of the barley in the province was expected to be of malt quality.
Moisture levels in Alberta were rated as adequate to excess in some areas by Brook.
Grasshopper damage was evident in crops in the northeast, northwest and Peace districts of the province, Brook said. Lygus bugs were also evident in some fields.