Despite the late Alberta spring, farmers are eager to get their seeds in the ground.
Harry Brook, crop specialist with Agriculture and Rural Development Ag-Info Centre, says seeding started about one week later than what farmers would normally hope for, but this was the same situation from last year.
The challenge for farmers is ensuring the seeds get into the ground soon, as the production window is so small in Alberta due to cold winters and frost concerns.
“There’s usually not enough hours in the day to get things done,” said Brook.
How crops will look in the long-term is always an uncertainty as no one can predict what the weather will bring farmers over the summer. “It’s a great big unknown,” Brook stated.
He says Environment Canada is predicting a 50 to 60 per cent chance of a cooler summer than last year, which could affect crop yields. He says that is one reason producers are so eager to get seeding done fast is that they do not want to extend their plant growth cycle.
Rumors of fertilizer shortages have also been discussed but Brook says he has not seen proof of what types of fertilizer are not available. He suggests some of that may be localized as he did speak with one farmer in the Peace River area who said they were going to have a challenge finding phosphate.
If producers have concerns or questions with regard to agricultural issues, Brook recommends they call the Ag-Info Centre at 403-310-3276.
Crop specialists at the centre field calls and provide help or advice on many farming aspects such as planting, cattle and farm management.