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Alta. harvest likely half done by Sunday: AARD

(Resource News International) — The return of warm and dry weather
conditions has resulted in Alberta producers becoming very active
in their harvest operations, according to a crop specialist with
the provincial Ag-Info Centre.

“The return of hot and dry conditions on the weekend has
allowed producers to resume harvest operations,” Harry Brook said Tuesday.

Combining across the province was said to be fairly general
with an estimated 30 per cent of all the crops now in the bin, Brook
said. Last year at this time, roughly 40 per cent of the various crops

had been harvested.

“If the weather holds, I would estimate that by the time
Sunday (Sept. 21) rolls around, 50 per cent of the harvest in the province
will have been completed,” Brook said.

Yields in some areas of the province have been above-average, he said.

“There’s been reports of 60-bushel-an-acre peas, and 90 bu./ac. barley,” Brook said.

However, he felt that yields in general probably would only
be average once all the dust settled, as the areas in which
drought conditions existed saw below-average yields.

While crops in the province in general were still
a week to 10 days behind in development, Brook said, they were far enough
along that any frost now would result in only minimal damage.

Soil moisture conditions in Alberta were said to vary
widely.

“In the Peace district and northern areas of the province
the soil moisture situation is very dry, as is the north-central
area,” Brook said. The central, northwest and southwest regions
have adequate moisture supplies at this time.

A good soaking rain after the crops are off would be
helpful, Brook said.

Winter wheat and fall rye plantings were expected to be down
significantly in Alberta from the year-ago level, he said.

“It’s hard to plant a crop if the current season’s crop
still has to be harvested,” Brook said.

The optimal time to plant winter wheat or fall rye
was near the end of August and the beginning of September, he said.

Brook also forecast that there will be forage shortages in
the province as most livestock producers were only able to get
one hay cut complete.

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