National Horticulture Crop News - November 1, 2011

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Market Analysis and Information Section
Horticulture and Cross Sector Division

This will be the final Crop Report for the 2011 season.

British Columbia

Over the past month, there have been no major climate-related risks to crop production, however the Peace region harvests have been delayed by snow. In all other regions, all crops are complete or near-complete except for grapes and cranberries which were late and, as such, harvest is still taking place for these commodities. The grape harvest is 90 per cent complete.

Wildfires were well below the long-term average this year and the current risk is low to very low everywhere except the dry central and southern interior regions which have a high risk.

Overall, this agricultural year started off cold and wet resulting in delayed germination and pollination. There was some significant flooding. Cool temperatures continued into summer, but precipitation was low throughout the growing season. Harvest was delayed, but production volumes ended up at about average.

Conditions going into freeze-up are dry. Most of the agricultural region, except the southeast, received less-than-average precipitation over the past 3 months (between 40 and 85 per cent of normal) and much-less-than-normal over the past month (less than 85 per cent of normal in the south to less than 40 per cent in the north).

Alberta

There were no major climate-related risks over the past month. Harvest was essentially completed and quality was average to above-average.

Warm dry weather in October depleted soil moisture in the Peace, northern, and extreme southeast regions. Conditions going into freeze-up are generally average to dry. River flows and lake levels are normal.

This was an average agricultural year. A wet spring delayed seeding in general, and there was significant flooding in the Cypress Hills and north-central area around Edmonton. Crop development was slow until mid-summer but a dry warm back half of summer and fall allowed crop development to catch up, delayed frosts, and allowed harvest to be completed.

For further information regarding Alberta crop news, please visit the Government of Alberta Department of Agriculture Crop Report website which is updated regularly during the crop season.

Should you have any further inquiries, you may direct them to:
Reynold Jaipaul, Branch Head for Statistics and Data Development Branch, Department of Agriculture, Government of Alberta, 780-427-5376.

Saskatchewan

There were no climate-related risks over the past month. A warm, dry fall allowed producers to get crops off in good condition. Producers are now hoping for a normal amount of winter and spring precipitation to replenish soil moisture before seeding.

Topsoil moisture conditions are adequate in the eastern region, but low in the north-west and west-central regions (up to 50 per cent short), and there are fire bans in some locations.

Water levels in the Qu'Appelle Valley, except Buffalo Pound, Mission, and Katepwa Lakes, remain above-normal.

There were record numbers of claims for flooding and excess moisture this year.

Manitoba

The main climate-related risks over the past month were low precipitation and low soil moisture. Harvest was completed and yields were average to below-average.

Little precipitation fell over the past month. Conditions going into freeze-up are dry. Soil moisture levels are very low in all regions, except the northwest where levels are adequate.

The level of the Assiniboine River remains high, and lake levels remain up to three feet (1.0 metre) above normal. The Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin Diversion (emergency channel) was completed and is ready to help alleviate future flooding.

The 2011 agricultural season was challenging with spring flooding, excess moisture and cool conditions into early summer, dry conditions with little rainfall through the summer and into fall, and early September frosts. The Assiniboine and Souris Rivers flooded; in some locations, peaks crested several times over a period of weeks and even months. Approximately 3.1 million acres of land (20 to 30 per cent of total annual cropland) went unseeded this year. The majority of unseeded acres were in the southwest region.

For further information regarding Manitoba crop news, please visit the Government of Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives website which is updated regularly during the crop season.

Ontario

Wet weather was the main climate-related risk over the past month. Some regions received double to triple normal precipitation in October and this has slowed harvest considerably.

Harvest completion rates are variable. The harvest of corn varies from 10 per cent (in and around Essex, Kent, Lambton and Elgin counties) to 80 per cent (in and around Huron county). Yield reports for corn are average. Either dry conditions or freezing temperatures are needed to harvest the remaining crops.

Rain and disease have reduced the grape harvest by 40 per cent and the quality of wine is expected to be lower this season.

Overall this was a challenging agricultural year, with a very wet spring that delayed planting, a hot and very dry July that negatively impacted crop development, and a wet fall that delayed harvest.

Conditions going into freeze-up are wet.

For further information regarding Ontario crop news, please visit the Government of Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs website which is updated regularly during the crop season.

Quebec

Over the past month, there were no major climate-related risks.

Conditions were generally characterized by frost on October 6 and 7 in most regions, followed by mild conditions from October 8 to 12. Good weather allowed soils to dry and harvest to progress.  Heavy rains since mid-October caused some delays.

Harvest is mostly complete.  The corn harvest began around October 10 and is currently around 48 per cent complete; yields were slightly below average. And 99 per cent of potatoes were harvested.

Generally, this was a near-average crop year but with challenges in certain regions. The spring was wet and significant flooding occurred in the Richelieu region. Cool, wet weather delayed crop development in the spring, and similar to Ontario, a heat wave and dry conditions existed in July. The fall was again wet and harvest was delayed but is now completed for most crops.

Generally, the soil moisture conditions going into freeze-up are near-normal to wet with the exception of the Abitibi-Temiscamingue region where dry conditions are prevalent.

For further information regarding Quebec crop news, please visit the Conseil Quebecois de l'Horticulture website which is updated regularly during the crop season (note: this website is available in French only).


New Brunswick

Over the past month, the most significant climate-related risks were above-normal precipitation, post-tropical storms, and saturated soils. Harvest continues to be delayed, wet weather continues, and conditions across the region going into freeze-up are wet to saturated.

Conditions in October were varied, with frost in the first week, then warm temperatures to mid-month, and then a massive storm at the end of the month.

Overall, this agricultural year was one of the wettest experienced, decreasing crop quality and yields, particularly in the north-western corner.

For further information regarding New Brunswick crop news, please visit the Government of New Brunswick Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries website which is updated regularly during the crop season.

Nova Scotia

Over the past month, the most significant climate-related risks were above-normal precipitation, post-tropical storms, and saturated soils. Harvest continues to be delayed, wet weather continues, and conditions across the region going into freeze-up are wet to saturated.

Nova Scotia received more than 300 mm of precipitation in October, largely in the central areas of the province and the Annapolis Valley, which delayed harvest and decreased crop quality.

Overall this crop year, wet conditions hampered agricultural production, with a wet spring, a late summer, and a wet fall.

For further information regarding Nova Scotia crop news, please visit both the AgraPoint Newsletters and the AgraPoint Field Crop Production websites which are updated regularly during the crop season.

Prince Edward Island

Over the past month, the most significant climate-related risks were above-normal precipitation, post-tropical storms, and saturated soils. Harvest continues to be delayed, wet weather continues, and conditions across the region going into freeze-up are wet to saturated.

Wet weather this past month hampered harvest and decreased yields, with particular impacts on potato and corn crops. The biggest concern currently is saturated soils and that wet weather continues to delay harvest.

Overall, this has been a challenging crop year, and wet weather throughout the entire year delayed seeding, crop development, harvesting, and also reduced yields.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Over the past month, the most significant climate-related risks were above-normal precipitation, post-tropical storms, and saturated soils. Harvest continues to be delayed, wet weather continues, and conditions across the region going into freeze-up are wet to saturated.

Lower than normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation were experienced across the province through October, with some fields developing standing water, which reduced harvest.

The year began with a wet spring. Into July and August, better conditions allowed crops to catch up, but into the fall, wet weather once again plagued the region leading to late harvest and a decrease in quality.

For further information regarding Newfoundland and Labrador crop news, please contact Rosalind Pound, Manager, Agricultural Services, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 709-637-2089.


Source: Climate Related Production Risks Committee, AAFC