Alberta crops down 37 per cent in 2021 but quality above 5-year average

A farmer harvests barley near Hays, Alta. .

Crop yields in Alberta were down 37 per cent below the five-year average in 2021, while quality was above, with the exception of malting barley and oats.

Favourable conditions also meant farmers across the province were three to four weeks ahead of schedule.

“The drought this year hurt our farmers and ranchers but their hard work and hope for a ‘better year next year’ is what built up our world-class agriculture sector," said Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen

As of Oct. 12, harvest progress was 99 per cent complete across Alberta, well ahead of the five-year average of 71 per cent and the 10-year average of 81 per cent.

The northwest region had the highest yields (20 per cent below the five-year averages), and the south region had the lowest yields (56 per cent below the five-year averages).

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) provides much-needed business risk management tools to producers facing adverse conditions and the AgriInsurance program offered a 20 per cent discount for the 2021 crop year.

"As the growing season progressed, it became clear this discount would help ease some of the financial burden on producers facing adverse conditions," the province said in a release.

AFSC is holding virtual Input Advisory Group meetings from Nov. 1 to 10 to gather feedback on potential changes to Moisture Deficiency Insurance.

The virtual meetings will focus on how to account for extreme heat and changing weather patterns and how to make the program more reflective of what happens on the insured fields. The deadline to sign up is Oct. 27.

In January, the province announced a 20 per cent reduction in insurance premiums, which it says has saved farmers and ranchers $70 million.