Heat could cause issues with area crops

Canola, peas may experience some losses due to extreme July heat

Sometimes the weather gives and takes at the same time.

With some extreme heat during the past week to go along with some tiny amounts of moisture, crops overall in the central region of the province are performing well.

The exception might be in the canola and pea fields, according to Neil Whatley, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry crop information specialist in Stettler.

“The excessive heat can cause what is called flower blast in canola and field peas,” he said.

“That’s why peas are seeded early in May, so that the plants are past the flowering stage by the time the heat of July normally comes.”

He added that peas are especially vulnerable to flower blast with little ability to recover, while canola is somewhat better able to withstand it and can restore itself.

As far as the rest of the crops stand in central Alberta, Whatley explained most are well rooted and have gotten sufficient moisture in recent weeks. This has left the majority of farmers feeling good about the prospects for a good harvest.

“That said, the farmers who are wanting to get some haying done are happy about this heat, since they will be able to hopefully complete that work,” he stated.

The small amount of moisture that continues to fall at times is helping most crops maintain growth potential, but that may start to slow if the heat sticks around for an extended period.

So far, soil moisture in the central area is sitting near 53 per cent rated good and 17 per cent as excellent with just five per cent rated as poor.

That has led to crop conditions overall sitting at 81 per cent rated good or excellent, well above the 69 per cent five year average. However, that’s also a drop of eight per cent from the previous week.

Canola’s averaging 67 per cent rosette stage and 12 per cent flowering, while peas sit at five per cent flowering.

Meanwhile, just eight per cent of the first cut hay has been taken off, though yields remain extremely promising after several poor years.

Provincially, crop conditions fell four percent from the previous week to 78 per cent rated good or excellent, still five per cent above the five year average. The only exception to a decline in conditions was the Peace portion of the province, which received rainfall amounts ranging from 10 to 30 mm the previous week.