With nearly a month gone in a somewhat expanded growing season this year, farmers have really gone to town in getting the crops in the ground.
According to the latest Alberta Agriculture and Forests department crop report issued last week, producers in central Alberta have nearly completed seeding of the crop varieties that dominate those grown in the region.
The report stated approximately 95 per cent of the spring wheat crop is now in the ground, canola crops are sitting at 94 per cent, dry peas are at 98 per cent, barley is about 85 per cent complete and oats is lagging behind slightly at 74 per cent.
While the steady rainfall that occurred over the May long weekend then carried on somewhat through the week was a huge relief and a welcome sight for farmers, it also put a temporary halt to seeding activity. Several farmers across the region have also reported that some crops had to be reseeded due to some frost damage from two weeks ago.
That said, more than half of the crops that made it into the ground – 55 per cent – have emerged, an increase of 21 per cent from one week earlier.
Also as a result of the precipitation that fell recently, soil moisture levels have improved immensely and are now being rated as good to excellent in 89 per cent of the region as compared to just 23 per cent the previous week. That rain also helped push tame hay and pasture growth along with benefiting alfalfa in the area that has been suffering from damage due to frost.
Overall, Alberta farmers have around 90 per cent of their crops seeded – just five per cent behind what they were at this time last year with soil moisture levels hovering at 72 per cent rated as good to excellent, three per cent rated excessive and 25 per cent as fair to poor.
Pasture and hay conditions remain poor, with both reported at being rated fair to poor at levels above 50 per cent.