Alta. farmers near ready for seeding

Minimal seeding has occurred to date in Alberta, but the return of warm and drier conditions should see seeding operations fully underway in about a week’s time, according to a provincial crop specialist.

“Some seeding has occurred in the extreme southern areas of the province so far, but I would say those operations are still very preliminary in nature,” said Neil Whatley with the Alberta Ag-Info Centre in Stettler.

The wet and cold spring caused farmers to hold off on planting as early as they did last year, he said. For comparison, some fields in Alberta had been fully seeded by the end of April 2012.

Soil moisture in Alberta was rated as good to excellent with no one area considered as dry at this time, Whatley said. Even historically-dry southern areas had a good spring snowfall to work with, leaving the area in good shape, he added.

Spring weeds were a bit of a problem for some farmers in the central and northern areas of the province, but appropriate measures have been applied to remove any problems, he said.

Winter wheat and fall rye crops in the province were said to have had few issues and to be in relatively good shape, Whatley said.

No real pest problem has presented itself yet, Whatley said, although farmers were preparing for some wireworm issues in some areas.

In terms of crop disease, issues for canola and some cereals were expected, but farmers in the province were trying to get a head start by applying the appropriate chemicals to control these diseases, he said.

— Dwayne Klassen writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

Related stories:
Cutworms turn up in S. Alta. winter wheat, May 7, 2013
Prairie seeding outlook improves with heat, May 7, 2013

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