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Moisture Updates - August 31, 2023


Map 1: Since the last report (August 23) rainfall has been highly variable, ranging from none across much of the northern and north-western Peace Region and throughout most of east-half of the Central and Southern Regions, to well over 20 mm along the western portions of the central and Southern Regions. These areas have been dry and this is much needed moisture for struggling hay and pasture lands. Notably, parts of the North West Region received less than 5 mm, which was welcome given the wet conditions that have persisted over the past few months.

Recent Precipitation Trends, as of August 31 2023

Maps 2, 3, 4 & 5: During the last 30-days, much of the eastern portions of the Central and Southern Regions and parts of the Northern Peace Region have remained dry, a condition which is serious and ongoing (map 2). Elsewhere, it’s noteworthy that the western parts of the Central Region and both the western and southern parts of the Southern Region have recently trended towards normal, with reasonable rains (upwards of 20 mm) falling over the past two weeks (Map 3). However, normally at this time of year its hot and dry in these areas so this rain, while needed, is relatively modest.

Over all, rainfall totals over the past 30 days have not exceeded 20 mm through much of the eastern-half of the Southern and Central Regions along with the northern Peace Region, with some areas receiving less than 10 mm (Map 4), moving westward rainfall accumulations climb to well over 50 mm across the foot hills and the adjacent plains, stretching from Red Deer to the US border. In general areas receiving 60 – 70 mm (medium green) or more on Map 4 have received adequate moisture in August. Parts of the North West have been quite wet, with many lands receiving over 100 mm in August, with 90-day precipitation accumulations exceeding once in 25 year highs in some areas (Map 5). This is in sharp contrast to the dry areas in the south and through the northern parts of the Peace Region.


Fall is a time when most seeded crops benefit from dry conditions as harvest operations need to proceed swiftly and unimpeded by rain or early snow falls. Unfortunately this often competes with the needs of pastures, hay lands and the land in general which need rain now particularly across the dry areas. This will aid in late growth ahead of freeze-up and also to begin the soil moisture recharge cycle ahead of next spring’s new growth. Currently, most lands south of Red Deer all the way down the US border and through many parts of the northern and western Peace Region need a wet fall to replenish serious moisture deficits on the land scape. Hopefully Mother Nature strikes a balance with the need to harvest and the need to replenish deep moisture deficits in the days and weeks ahead.

As we look towards the 2024 growing season, it’s very much “wait and see”, with respect to how the fall, winter and early spring shape up for next year. Generally south of the TransCanada Highway, March and April are traditionally important months for getting a good start on spring growth and May and June are critical for sustaining good crop growth as July typically turns hot and dry. Farther north, May, June, July and early August are the most critical months for sustaining good crop growth.

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