2020 Crop Tour – Southern Alberta

Posted on July 27, 2020

Crops are two to three times larger than the previous drought-ridden year.

Chris Veenendaal, senior grain marketing advisor, gives a boots-on-the-ground look at what’s happening in southern Alberta with Alyssa Mistelbacher, market analyst and Crop Tour lead.

Chris, you’ve been on the road for three days now – how is crop touring in southern Alberta so far?

The crop tour has been great so far. Crops in my region are looking beautiful, and most are two to three times larger than the previous year. The region previously faced multi-year droughts, and this is probably the best crop in the last four years. The rain has been timely and soil moisture is adequate. There is no major disease or pest pressure to report.

What has surprised you the most on this crop tour?

Other than a close encounter with a rattlesnake, the lack of podding on some lentil crops is somewhat concerning. A cooler summer, with a lot more rainfall, produced lush foliage, but there hasn't been the heat stress to trigger podding. Right now, there is a lot of lentil plant matter, but not a lot of pods.

Also, the delay in staging is surprising, even in cereal crops, which I thought would be much further along. Generally, it looks like crop development is two weeks behind the normal pace. It's a beautiful crop but it's progressing slowly. This time last year, we were gearing up to start harvest on early peas and winter wheat. This year, most of the region is a month (minimum) away from harvesting.  However, heat over the last few days and in the forecast should help push the crop along. 

What are your yield expectations considering what you’ve seen and counted thus far?

In general, the crops look great – there looks like a lot of 60 bu/acre pea crops in the region. Cereal crops look the most promising. Wheat fields are being counted at around 60 bu/acre but they definitely have even larger potential as the crops are just in the early stages of filling out.  Barley crops look huge, with yield potential in the 90-100+ bu/acre range.  Canola Is still flowering, but if conditions remain, the crop could yield 50-55 bu/acre.

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