2021 seeding season underway in southern Alberta

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WATCH ABOVE: Spring is here and farmers across the Prairies are getting in the fields. Quinn Campbell takes a look at how the conditions are shaping up. – May 4, 2021

Across the Prairies, farmers are taking to the fields for the 2021 seeding season.

Paul Husted of Husted Farms at Stavely, Alta., said so far, things are shaping up.

“Our seeding conditions in this area have been not bad,” he said. “We’ve been getting the odd little shower, moisture is to surface, so the seed is going into good ground.”

Read more: Southern Alberta farmers look to soil moisture levels as spring seeding nears

The Husteds are dry land farmers, with no irrigation. They are at the mercy of the skies to water their crops and need the spring rains to keep the seeds sprouting.

“That is a concern,” Husted said. “We might germinate the crop and if it shuts the tap off, that next stage of crop growth needs a good drink.”

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Retired agronomy research scientist Ross McKenzie said in some parts of southern Alberta, the moisture just hasn’t come.

“Precipitation over the last month, typically we get about 35 millimetres of precipitation in Lethbridge, we’ve only had 15 mm,” McKenzie said.

He added that ideally, soil moisture is around 70 per cent to 80 per cent at seeding, but when below 50 per cent, germination could be a problem.

“If soil moisture is only at 40 or 30 per cent of field capacity, often that is just not enough to get the crop off to a good start,” McKenzie said.

Read more: 2020 harvest begins in southern Alberta

Conditions are good now, but Husted said the waiting game is just beginning. Only time will tell how the growing season turns out and what can be expected this harvest. It will all depend on Mother Nature.

”It’s not over until the end,” he said. “We’ve got a few months of crossing our fingers.”

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