Early Alta. seeding stalled by moisture

Recent precipitation across a large portion of Alberta will help improve moisture levels in the province, as seeding operations are set to get underway for the year.

Some barley and spring wheat was already seeded in southern Alberta over the past week, before precipitation and colder temperatures halted that activity, said crop specialist Harry Brook of the provincial Ag Info Centre at Stettler.

With forecasts calling for warmer temperatures over the weekend, he expected to see early seeding operations resume in the south and likely get started in central Alberta as well.

The moisture largely bypassed the east-central part of the province, but most other areas have now received enough precipitation to "at least get the crop started," said Brook.

After a very dry winter, timely rains over the course of the growing season will now be needed to sustain the crops after germination, he added.

While some fields were seeded already, and more progress is expected before the end of the month, Brook said soil temperatures were still on the cold side.

Cool overnight weather has not allowed the soil to warm up very much, which means the bulk of spring seeding won’t likely take place until after May 1.

For the crops that were seeded early, the risk of a late-season frost is there which could lead to reseeding, said Brook.
"The thing about southern Alberta is they like seeding so much, they want to do it two or three times over the same land," he joked.

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