Quality of Western Canadian malting barley 2017- Growing and harvesting conditions

1. Growing and harvesting conditions

Although the persistent rains last fall caused quality degradation for the 2016 harvest, the subsoil moisture reserves were adequately replenished. This stored soil moisture was critical for the 2017 growing season. The main concerns in the spring of 2017 was whether producers could finish the 2016 harvest and prepare land for planting before they ran out of time. Cool temperatures in Saskatchewan and Alberta during the month of April slowed the start of the spring fieldwork, especially in the central and northern areas of both provinces. The combination of rain-free days and slightly above normal temperatures in May allowed growers in most areas to complete spring planting by the first week of June. Dry conditions in the southern regions created some establishment problems, especially for late seeded crops. In some areas of the northern Prairies, planting was delayed by rains during the last week of May and growers were unable to sow their intended planted area. 

Above normal temperatures and mostly dry conditions prevailed during June and July over most of Western Canada (Figure 1.1). The primary barley growing areas in Western Canada experienced stress which reduced yield expectations. However, good subsoil moisture reserves and scattered rainfall in northern and central Saskatchewan helped keep yields from dropping significantly from normal. The dry growing season (Figure 1.2) resulted in minimal disease pressure in most barley growing areas.

The dry weather and warmer than normal conditions prevailed through August and early September which allowed the barley harvest to proceed at a rapid pace. The barley harvest in Saskatchewan and Alberta was 50 per cent complete by the first and second week of September, respectively.  The Saskatchewan barley harvest was essentially complete by mid-October, while 35 to 40 per cent of the crop in Northern Alberta was yet to be harvested due to delays caused by persistent late September rains.

Figure 1.1 Mean temperature differences from normal for July 2017

Map:Temperature difference from normal in Prairies,July 2017.Described below.
Map representing the Prairie Provinces showing mean temperature difference from normal across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba during the month of July 2017.

Figure 1.2 Percent of average precipitation (Prairie Region) from April 1 to September 25, 2017

Map:Monthly average precipitation in Prairies, Apr.1-Sept.25,2017.Described below.
Map representing the Prairie Provinces showing percent of monthly average precipitation received across the growing regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba from April 1 to September 25, 2017.
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