Dry soil conditions in southeast Alberta continue to be a concern, despite recent rainfall

Click to play video: 'Soil conditions in southeast Alberta a concern despite recent rainfall' Soil conditions in southeast Alberta a concern despite recent rainfall
WATCH: A blast of moisture in the second half of May came at a good time as most farmers are done, or nearly done, seeding. Unfortunately, areas around Calgary are still running a moisture deficit. As Tiffany Lizée reports, some regions are short a full year's worth of moisture. – May 25, 2021

According to the most recent crop report, farmers across southern Alberta are ahead of schedule with over 80 per cent of crops in the ground.

After a dry winter and beginning of spring, conditions were shaping up to be another dry growing season.

Luckily, the second half of May delivered a blast of moisture across southern Alberta, which was a relief to farmers who have been battling dry conditions for several years.

Read more: 2021 seeding season underway in southern Alberta

“We’ve been very, very dry for the last five years,” Stephen Vandervalk with Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association said about his farmland near Fort Macleod and Claresholm.

“Now, last year was an anomaly. We actually had a very nice crop last year, but the previous four years was probably, you know, three, four out of the top 10 driers years we’ve ever had.”

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Data released by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry as of May 10 shows pockets around Calgary that are facing one-in-25 year lows, when compared to long-term normals.

Data released by ACIS shows soil moisture reserves as of May 10 are facing one in 25-50 year lows in the “extremely low” pockets across southern Alberta. Alberta Climate Information Service

As Ralph Wright with the Alberta Climate Information Service (ACIS) explains, there’s an area in Vulcan County that’s short a year’s worth of rain.

“If you go back and look at the full last four years, in aggregate, we’ve got some areas that are at one-in-50 year lows for precipitation,” Wright said.

“Some of these areas might be down 400 or 500 millimetres in total precipitation … they’ve lost about a full year of precipitation over the last four years.”

Read more: Alberta farmers thankful for snow’s moisture as seeding season begins

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Luckily, Alberta farmers are resilient and every year — no matter the conditions — find a way to adapt.

“Every year, we plant a crop, and we create revenue from a crop that we grow. And that brings new money into the economy,” Vandervalk said.

“I think people need to realize that agriculture is one of the very few industries in the world where we create wealth from nothing.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary-area farmers thankful for moisture as seeding season starts' Calgary-area farmers thankful for moisture as seeding season starts
Calgary-area farmers thankful for moisture as seeding season starts – Apr 18, 2021

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