By Rebecca Tokariuk
TABER, Alberta, Canada – Planting began in Alberta on April 27th, and carried on until about May 10th. Seeding was held off due to company negotiations with the worker’s Union. 27,000 acres were planted, with approximately 350 being re-seeded due to wind damage and herbicide carryover.
Early season moisture in some areas helped to produce good stands in most fields. Others relied on irrigation for emergence and stand establishment. Insect pressure was minimal, but some growers applied preventative applications of Decis 5EC for minor levels of flea beetle and cutworm. GDD was significantly higher than normal, running at about 11-13% higher than regional average as of September 1st. Row closure was evident in the last week of June, and hail damage was essentially nil through the summer months. A wind storm in late May led to the loss and re-seeding of a few acres, resulting in some significantly late seeded acres.
The summer was characterized by hot, sunny days with minimal precipitation. Cumulative rainfall was approximately 25-50% less than normal across all regions. Producers struggled to keep up with water demands, with many fields showing signs of heat stress and drought, despite pivots and irrigation wheels running non-stop all season.
Early harvest began on September 18, with all seven of our receiving stations open. Main harvest began October 2nd, but once again we were met with an abundance of rain, sleet, and snow. Piling grounds were closed, and were re-opened gradually over the course of the next two weeks. Fortunately, a Chinook blew through the region to dry both our fields, and the piling grounds to a functional level. Harvest concluded on November 5th.
Alberta’s 2017 yields averaged yet another record, 32.48 metric tonnes (35.80 short tons) per acre. We also saw a high quality crop with 19.23% (17.53% extractable) sugar being produced.
Editor & General Manager of The Sugarbeet Grower