Seeding progress mostly ahead in Alberta

Alberta farmers have largely made significant seeding progress so far this year given favourable weather conditions over the past week.

The latest crop report, published today, shows 61.8 percent of all crops have been seeded as of May 19. This is above the five-year average of 59.2 percent. It’s also well above 2017, which was a similar spring.

Despite the progress, farmers in the Peace and northwestern regions are behind.

In the Peace region, 32.6 percent of all crops have been seeded, below the five-year average of 49.8 percent.

In the northwest region, 40.2 percent of all crops are seeded, which is below the five-year average of 50.2 percent.

The Peace and northwest regions, however, are faring better this year than in 2017. In 2017, 18.1 percent of all crops were seeded in the Peace, while five percent were seeded in the northwest.

Furthest ahead in Alberta are the south and central regions.

The south has seen 81.8 percent of all crops seeded, while the central region has seen 71.5 percent seeded.

The five-year average for the south is 76.4 percent, and for central it’s 58.8 percent.

The crop report said precipitation has varied over the last month.

It said there has been at least 40 mm of accumulated precipitation in the western parts of the southern and central regions, western and central parts of the northwest region, and southern counties in the Peace region. Some areas saw 80 mm.

As well, a large area in the Peace region, the eastern parts of the northwest, and most parts of the southern, central and northeast regions have seen less than 20 mm of rain, it added.

The report said the wetness is welcome in the eastern half of Alberta. However, it is expected to increase excessive soil moisture in other areas, particularly the Peace and northwest regions.

While good weather led to additional combining of overwintered crops, it said this work has been challenging in some areas, particularly in the northwest and parts of the Peace.

As of May 19, about four percent of unharvested spring wheat acres remain in Alberta. About three percent of barley remains, 10 percent of oats and five percent of canola.

The crop report said pasture and tame hay conditions are in good shape.

Compared to the five-year average, both pasture and tame hay conditions have improved by 15 percent, it said.

Overall, seven percent of pasture conditions have been reported as poor, 24 percent fair, 64 percent good and five percent excellent.

Tame hay conditions have been reported as seven percent poor, 26 percent fair, 62 percent good and five percent excellent.

Contact jeremy.simes@producer.com

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