Crop year off to slow start

The 2013 crop year is off to a slow start for Central Alberta farmers. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development reported on Friday that heavy winter snowfall, cool temperatures in April and precipitation this spring have delayed the drying and warming of soil throughout the province.

The 2013 crop year is off to a slow start for Central Alberta farmers.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development reported on Friday that heavy winter snowfall, cool temperatures in April and precipitation this spring have delayed the drying and warming of soil throughout the province.

This has pushed seeding being schedule, with less than three per cent of crops in the ground at the beginning of last week.

For Central Alberta, seeding was less than one per cent complete, as compared with a provincial average of just under three per cent.

But the central region was actually the second most advanced of Alberta’s five areas, with Southern Alberta pulling up the average with a 9.3 per cent completion rate.

When it comes to surface moisture, the provincial department rated 53 per cent of Central Alberta as good and 37 per cent as excellent.

Five per cent was fair, four per cent excessive and one per cent poor.

Excessive moisture was identified as a problem in most other regions, especially in the northern half of the province.

Overall, 42 per cent was rated as excellent, 39 per cent as good, 15 per cent as excessive and four per cent as fair.

The moisture should benefit forage crops, but sustained warm temperatures are needed.

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