Alta. crops look good, north needs rain

(Resource News International) — Crops in Alberta are generally in good shape, according to a provincial crop specialist who said weather conditions were resulting in “lush” fields in most areas.

However, parts of the northern growing areas and the Peace River district are dry, and could use some timely rains.

Neil Whatley, a crop specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s Ag-Info Centre in Stettler, said Tuesday that southern and central Alberta both have good sub-soil moisture.

Timely rains in the eastern part of the province, where dryness had been a concern earlier in the spring, have helped that area catch up as well, he said.

Meanwhile, dryness is becoming a concern north of Edmonton and in parts of the Peace River area, according to Whatley. He said timely rains would be necessary for the crops in those drier areas, while in south and central Alberta “for ideal conditions it would be nice for the rain tap to shut off.”

Crop development in the south and central areas was about 10 per cent behind normal due to cool, wet conditions in the spring, said Whatley. In the north, the lack of rainfall was causing the crops to come in quicker.

Canola was in the flowering stage across the province, with podding starting to take place, according to Whatley. Some spraying for sclerotinia was also taking place.

Wheat was heading out across the province, according to Whatley, although wheat midge was becoming a concern in central and northeastern Alberta.

Field peas were flowering throughout the province and were just starting to pod, said Whatley.

Grasshoppers have not been a problem so far, while pea leaf weevils are also not as bad as originally thought, said Whatley.

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