‘Excellent’ crop development seen in Alta.

A combination of warm temperatures and timely precipitation has resulted in some excellent looking grain and oilseed crops in Alberta, according to a provincial crop specialist.

"Rain over the past couple of days combined with the heat seen last week has helped with development and has improved yield potential for the various crops," said Harry Brook, a crop specialist with the provincial Ag-Info Centre in Stettler. "I would even be willing to say there are some excellent-looking canola fields in the province."

The development of the various crops was believed to be ahead of normal in comparison to the previous two seasons but, based on a longer-term average, about normal, he said.

Most areas of Alberta now have adequate soil moisture to work with, with the exception being some isolated areas in the northern Peace River district, he said.

The high humidity levels in the province, however, have resulted in the aggressive application of fungicides on cereal crops by producers in a effort to prevent disease issues, Brook said.

Shortages of fungicides have been reported in certain locations across the province, he acknowledged.

Few pest problems have been reported so far, Brook said. He noted some lygus bug and diamondback moth issues have popped up, but were far from being a major problem for farmers.

Harvest of canola and other crops was still a few weeks away, although Brook said canola in the province was at the end of its flowering stage of growth.

Some fall rye in the east and in the southwest was close to being harvested, with the winter wheat harvest about a week or so away from getting underway.

The first cut of hay in the province has been completed, with pasture land for livestock also doing extremely well given the recent precipitation, Brook said.

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

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