Western Canada Export Forage Crop Update

July 28, 2004

 British Columbia

Growers in the southeastern corner of B.C are nearly finished the 1st cutting of timothy. About 98% of the timothy has been cut; about 90% is baled and in the shed. Prospects for scattered showers had caused growers to proceed slowly. No general rains passed through the area since the cutting began. Most growers were able to finish baling without any rain damage on their timothy.

The heavy crop cured well under very warm conditions. Temperatures this week hit near 35C in many parts of the region. As the weather pattern changed to dryer and warmer conditions the timothy harvest was able to accelerate. Growers should have the crop completely wrapped up and in the shed by this weekend.


Peace Region

The Peace Region continues to receive a mixture of scattered thunderstorms and high humidity across much of the district since the last report. Very little cutting or baling was accomplished in the past week. Growers were reluctant to cut with uncertain forecasts but now face a clearer forecast. Growers are expected to move rapidly in the last half of this week and early next week.

Approximately 25% of the timothy has been cut and baling is current behind it. Growers were warned about the impending showers well in advance and had ceased cutting. The forecasted showers arrived on schedule but not before growers had caught on their baling. The crop is now reaching a maturity, which will push growers to become more aggressive in cutting the remaining timothy. 

Prospects for the 2nd cutting alfalfa and timothy continue to improve. The cool, showery weather has delayed harvesting but provided excellent growing weather for future cuttings.

Central Region

Thunderstorms continue to dampen harvesting plans in the Central Region as growers finesse their way through the mixed hay crop and into the timothy hay harvest. . Growers are well started on the timothy hay cutting (30% down) and are nearly current on the baling (25%). Expect timothy growers to move into full timothy cutting mode toward the end of next week if weather prospects hold. Current forecasts call for a dry, sunny weekend. Growers have been cutting to weather forecasts, taking a cautious and steady approach.

Alfalfa 1st cutting is nearly complete. Growers anticipate a strong start for 2nd cutting, especially in the northern half of the district. Rains have been adequate to replenish moisture reserves in the western half of the district and inadequate in the eastern half as moisture requirements climb with the thermometer. Despite the dry start this spring, the beginnings of the so-called "normal year" are starting to appear.

Southern Alberta

Rain fell in limited spotty showers across isolated areas of southern Alberta in the past week. Amounts were only minimal and quite isolated. The area continues to receive some scattered showers but humidity levels are declining. Dryland grain crops and pastures are beginning to show the effects of a prolonged dry spell and warmer temperatures. Timothy cutting is complete and baling should be done by tomorrow. Approximately 70% of the timothy was either rain damaged to some degree or suffered visible colour damage from high humidity.

By this weekend most of the irrigation of the 2nd cutting of alfalfa and timothy will be well underway. Temperatures have been moderate since the weekend, pushing the alfalfa along nicely. Prospects for the alfalfa 2nd cutting are looking every positive. The majority of growers will get started either late this week or early next week. Because of the late spring the majority of growers will not be cutting any 3rd cutting before Labour Day.


Saskatchewan also received light scattered showers since the past weekend in many parts of the province. As much as 50% of the timothy is baled by now. Approx. 25% is still standing leaving about 25% lying in the windrow. The unsettled weather continues to hamper harvesting weather. The showers have not been particularly damaging, just enough to keep the timothy from getting up in premium condition.

The remaining few acres will not take long to wrap up in the central regions as soon as the weather co-operates, perhaps as soon as this weekend. In the southeast corner of the district, the prospects have been slow as the unusual wet weather brings bands of thundershowers on a frequent basis.

Prospects for an average to above average 2nd cutting of alfalfa look good for most of the province. Moisture has been good to excellent for starting the next cutting. Expect growers to being on the 2nd next week if weather forecasts look favourable. Prospects for a 3rd cutting have been limited by a slow start to the 1st cutting on their alfalfa.



Excellent timothy harvest weather graced much of Manitoba toward the end of last week and early into this week. Toward the middle of this week some isolated showers hit the Interlake district. Cutting should be completely finished by the weekend. Baling is about 65% done in the Interlake and may be as much has 85% done in the rest of the province.

Expect baling to be all done by next week if the weather remains favourable. Estimates suggest as much has 50-60% of the provincial timothy crop went up in good to excellent conditions without rain or heavy dew damage. Growers report the harvest window was brief but excellent in quality.

Alfalfa is 1st cutting is practically wound up across most of the province. Very little of the initial cut made it into the shed as dairy quality. Prospects are very positive for a good 2nd cutting, as the weather pattern seems to be returning to a warmer, drier trend. Harvesting of the 2nd alfalfa cutting began this week on those fields taken for dehy or silage on the 1st cutting. Because most areas of Manitoba do not experience the night cooling common on the rest of the prairies, growers tend to have shorter intervals between harvests. Alfalfa harvesting could be in full swing by the end of next week.


Compiled by Penner Project Management