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Heat-stunted crops becoming cattle feed for some producers

Posted on July 27, 2023 by Vauxhall Advance

Southern Alberta Newspapers

Some producers in southern Alberta have begun turning heat-stunted crops into cattle feed, the most recent provincial crop report states.

That’s as pasture conditions worsen as scattered rain is not enough to reverse dry, hot conditions up to July 11 that reduced subsoil moisture levels.

Across the region, about half of cropland is considered to have poor subsurface moisture with 34 per cent fair and 14 per cent good.

Those figures mimic pasture growth conditions, though across the province the spread is in more even-thirds poor, fair and good.

A first cut of hay in the Strathmore, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Foremost regions is yielding 900 kg per acre on dryland and 2.2 tonnes on irrigated acres.

Crop quality is also declining, states the report from the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, including estimates of flower and pod losses in oilseeds and pulses.

In southwest Saskatchewan, producers are hoping for rain soon as crops begin to progress quickly in heat and only trace amounts of rain were recorded in the first full week of July.

The Leader area received the most rainfall at 4 millimetres (one-sixth of an inch) during the span.

About 90 per cent of the crop land across the region is considered short for top-soil moisture, with about half considered very short.

Crop condition is varied, though 84 per cent of winter wheat is in good condition.

A first cut of hay is nearly complete with most considered in good or fair quality. No yield estimate was published.

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