All the snow this winter has been good for the soil, not so much for livestock. Contributed photo by Jim Wood

Winter has been good for the soil, not livestock in Central Alberta

All the snow this winter have been a boon and a bane for farmers in Central Alberta.

Jim Wood, Red Deer County Mayor, whose family’s farm has been in operation since 1906 east of Elnora, said the snow has been good for the fields this winter.

He said it’s important the soil is covered in snow during winters so it doesn’t dry out.

Looking ahead, Wood said he is hoping for a slow-snow-melt, so the moisture soaks into the ground.

“Through this season, we’re hoping we have a dry spell in order to get the crops planted, and then hoping it will continue to rain, as needed, for the big crop that we’re always striving to produce,” said Wood.

The local politician isn’t the only one hoping for rain this spring and summer.

Harry Brook, a crop specialist at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry based in Stettler, said Central Alberta farmers will be relying on rainfall this season “to make the crop this year.”

Brook said despite the large dumps of snow this winter, the amount of moisture from the snow, is “very little” compared to rain.

He said around late fall last year, there was a period when the ground was exposed to freezing temperatures, which means, the spring run-off may not be absorbed into the soil.

“We had bare ground basically exposed, so that seals the soil up, so when the snow does melt, most of it is going to run off,” said Brook.

Brook said the lack of moisture and dry springs especially hurt crops like canola that have to be seeded shallow into the ground.

“With wheat or barley, you can seed them deeper, where the soil still retains moisture,” said Brook.

The snow may have helped Central Alberta fields this winter, but not the livestock.

Both Wood and Brook said livestock needs to stay warm and dry during winters.

Wood said the colder it is, the more feed they use.

“It seems like it’s been a long cold winter, and we have used lot of feed, that’s for sure,” said Wood.

Brook said winters are hard for cattle especially during calving.

“It’s not good for cattle to calve out in the snow which means you’ve got to do heavy bedding, lots of straws,” said Brook.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

Restaurant owner concerned about Gasoline Alley road changes

Nearly 20 trucks were lined up on the service road in front… Continue reading

Eight dogs found in Innisfail hotel room were kept in cages

Eight dogs, kept in cages in a small hotel room in Innisfail… Continue reading

Boot Scootin BBQ at Red Deer airport draws big crowd

Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre to benefit from donations

Severe thunderstorm watch for Central Alberta

Thunderstorm watch covers large area including Sylvan Lake to Stettler

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

Red Deer residents can’t get enough mini-doughnuts

Mini-doughnuts were the biggest draw to Westerner Days according to a Red… Continue reading

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff vehicles were also involved in the collision

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

From hot to not? The Baloney Meter weighs in on Scheer’s economy claims

OTTAWA — “Justin Trudeau inherited a booming economy, but he’s squandering it.… Continue reading

Scathing suicide inquiry finds gaps, shortcomings at Royal Military College

OTTAWA — Members of a board of inquiry into three suicides at… Continue reading

Premiers strike deal to allow increased flow of beer, alcohol across borders

ST. ANDREWS, N.B. — Canada’s premiers are set to wrap up their… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month