Summer weather slows crop growth

The crops in Ponoka County are developing at an acceptable rate but with more ideal weather conditions

The crops in Ponoka County are developing at an acceptable rate but with more ideal weather conditions, their stature could continue to improve.

“Some portions of the west central portion of the county received some severe weather that damaged some crops, about a week ago,” said Shayne Steffen, Ponoka County manager of agricultural services. He estimated between 1,000 and 1,500 acres were damaged.

As of July 18, approximately 60 to 70 per cent of the county’s first hay cut was complete.

The entirety of Ponoka County provides good land for crop, however, the western portion is slightly better suited for hay crops and pasture because of the limited frost free growing days.

“Canola, wheat, barley and oats are all looking good right now but we do need some more rain to continue to fill out the crops,” said Steffen.

He believes another six to 10 inches before the harvest would put producers in a good position for all crops, although this year the most planted are canola, wheat, barley and peas.

According to the Alberta Crop Report, crop conditions as of July 15 for Region Two Central, which encompasses Ponoka, hot and dry conditions were affecting both crops and soil conditions.

“Weather is starting to make an impact on crops as they are shallow rooted and could use more moisture,” the report stated.

Sub-surface soil moisture has, over the last two weeks, dropped down to 28 per cent, leaving it at 56 per cent good to excellent.