Prairie farmers take advantage of planting window

Weather conditions were good for spring seeding across much of Western Canada over the past week, with producers in the Prairie provinces getting in about a third of the crop in the past seven days alone, according to a CWB official.

Total seeding progress across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta was estimated at 45 to 50 per cent done, according to Bruce Burnett, a weather and crops specialist with CWB (formerly the Canadian Wheat Board) in Winnipeg.

That estimate is up from only 15 per cent complete the previous week.

“It’s not quite normal, but it’s getting close to normal,” said Burnett, adding that not many producers would have thought they’d be this far along by this point a month ago, given the lateness of the spring thaw.

Northern parts of Saskatchewan were farthest behind, while southern Manitoba saw rain over the May long weekend which will cause some delays, said Burnett.

Forecasts are calling for rain in southern Alberta later in the week, with progress going forward dependent on how widespread that moisture is.

“We’re behind normal in those (wetter) areas, but not by that much,” said Burnett. It’s still only the middle of May, and he said it was too early to be thinking of shifting acreage intentions or writing any fields off.

“We’ll have to wait and see how the weather evolves over the next week,” Burnett added.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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