Central Alberta farmers can use the rain we’re having this week as long as it doesn’t turn into a deluge, says Red Deer County agricultural specialist. (CP photo)

Red Deer-area farmers need this week’s rainfall

County ag specialist favours moderate showers— not a deluge

Mother Nature is giving Central Alberta farmers what they want this time of year — plenty of moisture.

Tuesday night’s downpour on parts of the Red Deer region came at a time when most area farmers are done with seeding.

Cody McIntosh, agriculture services manager for Red Deer County, said rain is what’s most needed now that the seeds are in the ground — especially as it’s been such a dry spring.

“It’ll help the crops recover,” he said, particularly those on the eastern side of the county, which have been very dry and prone to gopher damage.

Rain creates stronger, healthier shoots that are more resistant to “pest pressures,” McIntosh explained.

The weather forecast for the Red Deer area shows a combination of rain and showers for the next week. That’s not out of the ordinary for June, which brings the second highest amount of rainfall of the year, behind July.

McIntosh hopes for moderate showers, however.

“What we want is five millilitres overnight, not 25 millilitres in an hour” — which would wash away topsoil instead of soaking into the ground.

Thundershowers are not welcomed by farmers if they produce high winds and hail. McIntosh said he hasn’t heard of any significant hail damage yet, but he noted this kind of weather phenomena usually happens when temperatures are much hotter in mid-summer.

Jane Fulton, assistant director of legislative, community and agricultural services for Mountain View County said winter precipitation was below normal throughout the Central region.

“We are entering the wettest part of the season and are receiving good moisture following the dry conditions earlier in spring.”

Fulton noted that forecasted rains will encourage pasture, forage and crop growth.


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