Some farmers already seeding in southern Alberta

(Photo courtesy Canola Council of Canada)

CNS Canada — Some farmers in southern Alberta are seeding earlier than normal this spring, thanks to some recent warmer weather.

“Some guys are just starting to turn a wheel in southern Alberta,” Harry Brook, crop specialist with Alberta’s provincial Ag-Info Centre in Stettler, said Thursday.

Soil temperatures are still not very warm, so more province-wide planting won’t likely begin until the middle of April — still earlier than normal.

“In central Alberta, we would probably be starting maybe late April, early May, normally. And I think we might be starting maybe a week early” this year, Brook said.

Alberta farmers, in the south especially, are risking planting earlier than normal this year, though there’s still a chance of frost and snow in many regions.

“A lot of years, the May long weekend, we get snow,” he said, referring to Victoria Day, which this year falls on May 18.

“We’re not really out of the woods yet, and there’s a lot of weather between now and the May long weekend.”

The first crops to go in will likely be pulses, with peas a popular option to go in first because they will germinate at lower soil temperatures, he added.

Wheat and canola are also popular options to go in the ground early, with crops such as barley and oats following once pulses, canola and wheat are finished.

Winter wheat crops seeded last fall are also affected by the early arrival of spring, as they’ve started to come out of dormancy already in Alberta.

“It’s starting to green up and maybe just starting to come out of dormancy,” Brook said. “It’s maybe a little early, but as long as the crown is in good health, it can handle a bit of frost.”

— Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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