Many Central Alberta farmers got the rain and warmer temperatures they were looking for and seeding is ahead of the five-year and 10-year averages. (Advocate file photo)

Many Central Alberta farmers got the rain and warmer temperatures they were looking for and seeding is ahead of the five-year and 10-year averages. (Advocate file photo)

Recent rain welcomed by Central Alberta farmers

Rain and warmer temperatures helping get crops and pasture going

Many Central Alberta farmers got much-needed rain in the last week and seeding is ahead of schedule.

Just under 86 per cent of major crops were seeded in the region as of May 24, according to the latest Alberta Crop Report. That is ahead of the five-year average of 81 per cent.

Province-wide, 73 per cent of major crops have been seeded, which is below the five-year average of 77.3 per cent and the 10-year average of 82.4 per cent.

The biggest drag on seeding numbers is from the Peace Region, which faced a cold, wet early start to spring. Only 36.6 per cent of major crops have been seeded in the Peace, compared with the five-year average of 63.1 per cent and 10-year average of 75.2 per cent.

While it has been a drier-than-normal spring, especially close to Red Deer — which has only had 6.5 mm of precipitation in May compared with the monthly average of 55.4 mm — enough rain has fallen in the surrounding region to help many farmers out.

In the Central Region, most areas received at least 10 mm of rain, with some getting as much as 20 mm, says the crop report.

That helped boost seeding progress by 27 per cent over the previous week and about 37 per cent of seeded crops have now emerged.

Almost all dry peas, (98.3 per cent) have now been seeded in the region, followed by spring wheat (91.2), barley (83), canola (79.5) and oats (73.7).

“Pasture and tame hay fields are now showing growth due to warmer temperatures,” says the report, which says 50 per cent of pasture is rated good or excellent along with 67 per cent of hay fields.

Pasture and hay growth will be welcomed by livestock producers, who have been facing high feed costs, exacerbated by last year’s drought, which dried out pastures and had farmers scrambling to find alternative feed sources.

Fall seeded crops appear to be doing well, with 68 per cent rated good or excellent and 29 per cent fair.

Moisture remains a big issues in southern Alberta, where most areas have had less than 40 mm of precipitation so far.

“The need for moisture remains acute in most parts of the South Region, which have received less than 30 mm. More rain and warmer temperatures are needed for these areas, which hopefully will occur in June, which is on average the wettest month of the year.”



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