Precipitation slows seeding in Alberta

Varying amounts of precipitation prevented producers in Alberta from getting on fields and actively preparing for spring seeding during the week ended May 2, according to a provincial crop specialist.

"Some seeding in the province has been completed, however," said Harry Brook with the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at Stettler.
In more southerly regions of Alberta, seeding was estimated at roughly 15-20 per cent complete. In the remaining regions of the province, seeding operations were set to begin before the rain fell, he said.

Producers in the south had seeded hard red spring wheat, peas and some canola, Brook said.

Soil moisture conditions across the province were rated as good, with the recent precipitation, which came in the form of snow and rain, helping to replenish the dry soils.

"At freeze-up last fall, the soils were rated as dry, but with the moisture received so far this spring, the crops should get off to a good start given that the moisture situation is more than adequate for the germination of the seeds planted," Brook said.

Excellent conditions would exist if the temperatures would warm up the soils, he said.

"Based on historic data, I would not say this is the earliest producers have begun seeding, but it is a tiny bit faster than average," Brook said.

The recent spate of precipitation has improved forage and pasture crops, Brook said, noting that those fields were greening up quite nicely.

Pests

In terms of insect concerns, Brook said diamondback moth traps in the province were showing a high level of the insect and that producers should take note. A heavy infestation could cause damage to canola yield potential., he said.

Brook also cautioned that clubroot remains a major issue for canola crops in the province and all necessary precautions must be taken.

Clubroot, a serious soilborne disease of canola, mustard and other crops in the cabbage family, is capable of significantly reducing yield and quality, and may destroy a crop if infestation levels are high.

Swedish researchers found that infestations in canola fields nearing 100 per cent affected plants caused about 50 to 80 per cent yield loss, while infestations of 10 to 20 per cent led to five to 10 per cent yield loss.

Producers who were pushing rotations, were the most vulnerable to the disease, he said.

"Based on the economics, I can’t blame these individuals for wanting to grow canola year after year," he said.

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