Seeding underway in southern Alberta

Green peas. (PulseCanada.com)

CNS Canada — Alberta farmers are in the early stages of seeding this year’s crop, with operations expected to become more widespread over the next few weeks.

“Southern Alberta is the most advanced, and (farmers) have been plugging away for as long as two weeks in some areas,” said Mark Cutts, a crop specialist with the provincial Ag-Info Centre.

Producers in central Alberta were also getting started, he added, while activity was limited moving north.

Cutts noted that soil temperatures are now consistently above 5 C, while recent precipitation in the eastern part of the province was favourable and should help kickstart seeding in earnest during the first week of May.

“Once we hit May, everybody will start to gear up,” he said.

The weekend rains were welcomed where they fell, but Cutts said there are still dry areas that extend into the northern Peace region of the province.

There was enough moisture in the ground for germination, he said, but timely rains will be needed going forward through the growing season.

Cutts said it was still too early to put a number on the seeding progress, with the first official crop report likely out in the next week or two.

In southern Alberta, he said, peas are going in the ground first, with wheat the next most common crop at this time of year.

Canola is more sensitive to frost, which should keep farmers holding off on planting a little longer, he added.

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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