Alberta farmers seeding and hoping to get last year’s crop off

Alberta farmers seeding and hoping to get last year’s crop off
WATCH ABOVE: Some Alberta farmers are seeding and hope the rain stays away, while others are still just trying to get last year's crop off the field. As Lisa MacGregor reports, progress varies depending on where you are in the province.​

Many Alberta farmers have been busy seeding or still just trying to get last year’s crop off. Others are doing both at the same time.

Southwest of Edmonton, farmer Joe Bendoritis is optimistic, despite last year’s wet season.

“It was a disaster, but we finished out harvest and came out OK. I’m just hoping for an average year,” he said.

Bendoritis and his family have been seeding the last five days after a late start.

“It’s definitely abnormal,” he said. “It’s very wet, it’s challenging conditions.

“A lot more hours on equipment, a lot more tillage and even just flattening out ruts from the fall that we had has just added — a lot more work.”

READ MORE: 90% of crops across Alberta harvested in ‘complicated’ and ‘halted’ season

Ward Toma with the Alberta Canola Producers Commision said progress in the field varies depending on where you are in the province.

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“Some farmers, depending on the land they have and the situation they’re in, they were able to get their crop off last fall,” Toma said. “And other farmers are standing and watching because the crop is too wet — the land is too wet to get on.”

According to Alberta’s crop report, as of May 12, almost half of the acres are seeded in the south (47.1 per cent) and 25 per cent of the acres in the central area.

Parts of the northwest area reported some snow and rain during the week that has hampered those still bringing in their 2019 harvest and this year’s plantings, which were estimated as three per cent done.

Last week’s nicer weather gave Bendoritis some hope, but he’s always ready to pivot to the conditions.

“A little bit of rain isn’t going to hurt us,” he said. “If we get four inches of rain dumped on us, we might be changing the seeding plan a lot.”

The biggest focus for crop farmers like Bendoritis over the the next few weeks, is to get all their seed in the ground, ideally by the end of May or up until June 15 for some varieties. Otherwise, the chances of not being able to harvest it again goes up significantly.

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