Thirty-eight per cent of crops seeded, soil moisture varies

Alberta crop conditions as of May 15, 2018

In the first half of May, temperatures have been the warmest since 1961 in most parts of the province and most areas received less than 10 mm of moisture. This has provided the ideal weather for quick ground thaw and allowed for seeding operations to be in full swing across the province. Provincially, as of May 15, about 38 per cent of crops have been seeded, compared with the five-year average (2013-2017) of 60 per cent and the long term normal (2004-2017) of 68 per cent by this time. Producers are almost a week behind. Regionally, seeding progress is most advanced in the Southern Region at 54 per cent, followed by the North West Region with 36 per cent, Peace Region at 32 per cent and the North East and Central Regions, both at 30 per cent.

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Soil moisture reserves are highly variable across the province. Although a large percentage of wet areas have dried, making seeding possible, there is still standing water in some areas across the province. Provincially, surface soil moisture is rated (sub-surface soil moisture ratings shown in brackets) at three (four) per cent poor, 18 (17) per cent fair, 42 (44) per cent good, 31 (31) per cent excellent, and six (four) per cent excessive.

Pasture and tame hay conditions improved from a week ago, due to warmer temperatures. However, the lack of moisture has caused a slow start to pasture and tame hay growth in some areas. Rain will soon be needed to improve pasture and tame hay conditions, as well as for the fall seeded crops. Pasture conditions (tame hay conditions are in brackets) across the province are reported as six (five) per cent poor, 30 (32) per cent fair, 57 (56) per cent good and seven (seven) per cent excellent. Some of the fall seeded crops have reported winter kill and will need to be re-seeded. Provincially, fall seeded crop conditions are rated as three per cent poor, 22 per cent fair, 66 per cent good and nine per cent excellent.

Click here to read the full report on the Alberta Agriculture website, complete with graphics and a breakdown by regions.

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