Farmers catch up following delays
Seeding may have got off to a slow start in Alberta because of snow, but it’s estimated that 70 percent was done in 10 days, and maybe even seven days in the Wetaskiwin area.
“It happens that rapidly. It’s mind boggling,” said Barry Schultz, owner of Parkland Fertilizers.
A combination of big equipment and more streamlined handling systems means many farmers were able to catch up quickly despite the slow start.
“It seems like even when they said they were late starting, they were surprised they were done early,” said Schultz.
Warm, moist soil has also meant seed emerged quickly, especially wheat and barley.
“By my count, the crops are ahead.”
Don Boles of Three Hills said he is 99.9 percent seeded, with the exception being where an energy company is digging up a pipeline. He said it’s the same situation across his region of central Alberta.
“The area is essentially seeded,” said Boles, with farmers starting late and finishing early.
“It was a real steady run.”
Rain gave the crops a good boost, and Boles estimates spraying will be underway quickly.
“The crops will be thriving from now on.”
Jason Casselman of Dunvegan Ag Solutions said seeding in the central Peace is essentially complete.
“We’re 99 percent done in this area. There are only one or two guys still picking up fertilizer,” said Casselman.
Farmers in the Hines Creek and Cleardale area have a few more days, but seeding is generally finished from Spirit River to Eaglesham.
“We started May 7 when we cracked open the fertilizer and went straight through to (May 26). There were no breaks in between.
Unlike other parts of the province, the Peace River region has not had a good rain. However, crops have emerged well despite the dry conditions.
Farmers make progress
Farmers continue to make steady progress on seeding with many reported to be well past the halfway mark and others nearing completion.
Fields in some areas, however, are extremely wet and some will likely go unseeded.
As of May 20, about 27 percent of the province’s crop had been planted, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly crop report.
The period saw good seeding weather in most regions. Some regions continue to struggle with excess moisture.
In the southeast, the Frobisher and Carnduff areas received about 50 millimetres of rain, enough to delay seeding progress and force growers to reassess plans.
Other communities, including Quill Lake in the east-central region and Major in west-central Saskatchewan, received more than 25 mm of rain between May 14 and 20.
As of last week, topsoil moisture on Saskatchewan farmland was reported as 14 percent surplus, 78 percent adequate and eight percent short.
As of last week, seeding was furthest advanced in southwestern Saskatchewan and least advanced in the northeast, where very few acres went in before May 15.
Seeding nears completion
After a 10-day stretch of nearly perfect seeding conditions from mid-May to the end of the month, spring planting is nearing completion in Manitoba.
For instance, growers in southwestern Manitoba are about 80 percent complete and a number of producers have finished seeding.
A Manitoba Agriculture rep in the region said seeding conditions in the southwest have been idyllic this year compared to the extremely wet spring of 2011 and early seeding followed by cool weather last year.
The only exception is the area close to the U.S. border, where a storm dumped 50 to 100 millimetres of rain on cropland in mid-May. As a result, growers in that area are only 50 percent complete.
Crop pests are not yet a concern in the southwest. Diamondback moths and aster leafhopper populations are negligible compared to last year.
Seeding conditions have also been favourable for producers near Dauphin. Seeding in the northwest region was 80 percent complete as of May 27.
The cold weather in April and early May has been hard on winter wheat. Farmers are assessing winter wheat stands and plant vigour to determine if reseeding is necessary.
Many fields in the Red River Valley received 50 to 75 mm of rain over the May long weekend.
The precipitation delayed seeding for only a couple of days, which showed that the rain was needed to boost soil moisture.
Seeding is nearing completion in the valley, but a Manitoba Agriculture rep said it’s hard to know if producers planted significantly fewer canola acres this year.
Last year, early seeded canola yielded 20 bushels per acre or less in eastern Manitoba. As a result, growers in the region may have abandoned canola in favour of soybeans.