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Many central Alberta crops have improved but more rain needed

Rainfall has varied considerably across Red Deer County

Recent rains have helped many central Alberta farmers ward off disaster, but more moisture is needed.

“Across Red Deer County, in the central part, it’s looking pretty good,” said Delburne-area farmer and rancher Jim Wood.

However, the amount of rain has varied considerably across the county. Some land is so wet farmers are having a hard time getting in to spray, but others have seen very little moisture. The eastern part of the county appears drier than other areas.

“What I can say is we’ve seen a small amount of rain that has improved conditions,” said Wood, who is Red Deer County mayor.

Just a few days ago, he had crops that looked like they would have to be written off that will now likely produce enough to harvest.

Wood said in mid-June he was trying to decide if his dry crops were worth putting on any chemicals, such as insecticides.

“But we did get some moisture since. It’s still not going to be good.”

Crops that he planted early in the season are still really short because the rain came too late to grow properly.

“The later wheat I put in didn’t run out of all that moisture. The early plantings are not in the best shape.”

The rain has also helped pasture land, but there are still many livestock producers who do not have enough feed. Red Deer County approved an emergency measure last week to allow cattle producers to apply to graze their livestock along county roadside ditches. Each potential site must be inspected and warning signs posted and other measures taken before roadside grazing is approved.

“We did that county-wide knowing that hay is needed across the county,” he said. “If we can make some more feed available it helps everyone.”

How much crops bounce back will depend on getting some more rain soon.

“The forecast is good. I hope that forecast is right, that in the coming week we’ll see some significant rainfalls, which are going to be much-needed.”

A lot of the crops are going into the head and they’re not flowering. They need moisture.

“Canola is at the stage now where it’s either bolting or flowering.”

Canola that got very little moisture remains well behind.


Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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