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Alberta crop land from Cold Lake to Medicine Hat experiencing historic dry spell

Posted on July 13, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

Southern Alberta Newspaper

The mass of Alberta crop land from Cold Lake to Medicine Hat and Lethbridge is experiencing a once-in-50-years dry spell, according to the latest Alberta crop report, dated June 13.

Areas south of the two southern cities are fairing only slightly better, ranging from very to moderately low for moisture.

In the Southern region, heavy but isolated rainfall earlier this month left subsoil moisture in even thirds rated good, fair and poor, and the report states haying of some perennial crops has begun as growing conditions regress.

Pasture conditions also retreated and is now considered 50 per cent fair. Seeded crops are advancing at a slower rate compared to long-term averages. About 46 per cent of all crops are rated good to excellent.

Crop reporters in southwest Saskatchewan are reporting “droves” of grasshoppers in areas after seeding was complete with heavy localized showers moving in.

Shaunavon and Outlook each received two inches of rain over a couple hours in the reporting period up to June 12, but wide swaths of the region between Alberta and Swift Current received little moisture.

About half of crop land is considered adequate supply at this point, and 40 per cent is short water, about the same ratings for hay land and pasture.

“Most producers are calling for a three-day general soaking rain to help improve soil moisture,” the report reads.

About four-fifths of fall and spring cereals, oil seed and pulse crops in the area are at normal stages of development, but that could reverse if hot weather persists without precipitation.

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