Warm, dry weather throughout the province during the reporting period dried soils sufficiently to allow producers to start spring operations in all regions. Seeding progress is approaching 10 per cent completed as compared to the 5 year average of near 30 per cent, approximately 7-10 days behind normal. Standing water is disappearing but remains a significant issue in all regions as many of these acres will likely remain unseeded. Due to the late start to seeding, less than 1 per cent of crops have emerged thus far, all in the South region.
Surface soil moisture ratings have improved in the northern regions but declined in the South and Central. Provincially, the area rated good or excellent is virtually unchanged at 74 per cent. Excessive moisture ratings dropped an average of 7 percentage points from last week, principally in the north but poor/fair surface soil moisture ratings have rose in the South, Central and the North East as drier conditions have expanded further north, now reaching Edmonton. After the dry conditions experienced last year across much of Southern and Central Alberta, sub soil moisture levels should be carefully watched as there has been little time for moisture recharge which would seriously affect its ability to carry another crop should another dry year occur.
Hay and pastures have reacted well to the warm temperatures of the past week and are greening up. We should see further improvement to forage crop conditions as showers and light rain have fallen over the past several days in all regions with the exception of the Peace region since the latest survey. Precipitation amounts are expected to be light which should cause minimal delays to the seeding of annual crops.
Warm, dry weather is forecast for the province starting this weekend and early next week.