Seeding nearly done in Alta., rain needed in north

Alberta farmers are nearly finished with their spring seeding operations, having made quick progress in the past few weeks, according to a crop specialist with the province’s Ag-Info Centre.

With planting wrapping up, fields in the northern part of the province are now in need of some rainfall, while excess moisture is causing some concerns in the south.

Spring seeding in Alberta is about 90 to 95 per cent complete, said Harry Brook, crop specialist with the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at Stettler on Tuesday.

That compares with 57 per cent done in the last official crop report for the period ended May 19. While planting was late getting started, producers caught up quickly and “we’re not that far behind the long-term averages for seeding,” said Brook.

“Pretty much everything is seeded… and crop conditions are looking fairly good,” said Brook, noting that conditions were the best in central Alberta.

However, he added, the northeast and Peace River areas of the province have had very little rain and could use some moisture.

Meanwhile, southern portions of the province, especially near Lethbridge, are on the wet side. In those areas with excess moisture, Brook said some barley and canola was still being seeded.

Temperatures were turning warmer, which should benefit crops in the province, he said, adding that one benefit of the cooler temperatures earlier in the growing season was that weeds are coming up at the same time as annual crops, creating less competition then if they had been up earlier.

Hay crops are looking good across most of Alberta, benefitting from ample subsoil moisture in many areas. However, in those parts of the province turning drier, timely rains will be needed.

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