Report predicts good to excellent crop conditions for most Alberta farmers this summer
After a cold, discouraging spring, crop conditions are above average across province
Farmers who have had a slow start to the season got some positive news in the latest Alberta government crop report.
Thanks to some warm weather and persistent rain, the report says overall crop conditions across the province are 80 per cent good to excellent, and above average.
It adds those conditions are well above the five year average in many south and central areas of the province.
"We are behind about two weeks, there's lots of moisture," said Larry Woolliams with Woolliams Farms near Airdrie. "We've had 9.5 inches of rain since the 21st of May, and the crops are surviving quite well … if we could get a good nice warm stretch of weather, we could catch these crops up very quickly."
Woolliams, who farms canola, barley and wheat, said the spring has been a tough go for farmers.
"It took a while for the ground to warm up, it was just like winter was here, and then all of a sudden spring came," Woolliams said. "So the ground never warmed up real fast, it delayed things and we haven't been getting the heat units through the day, in May and June especially. We're starting to get some heat now."
The cold spring was coupled with leftover harvest work from last season's early winter.
Woolliams said the heat is going to help bring out the crops — as long as it doesn't bring too many thunderstorms and hail.
"I'm optimistic going forward this year that things are on the up and up," he said. "Crops around here are very well, we're off to a really good start."
Woolliams said there is "a lot of potential sitting out in the fields," adding that it has been a few years since things looked so promising.
"It's definitely been a few years, seeing what I think is pretty uniform, across south and east, even up north too," he said. "It looks great."
The province says persistent precipitation has helped to replenish soil moisture and that forage crops are generally in good to excellent condition.
Enchant area farmer and Alberta Federation of Agriculture president Lynn Jacobson says favourable spring weather helped a lot of farmers in southern areas.
"It's very promising," Jacobson said. "It should make an excellent crop for us this year, in the south, on the dryland especially."
Heading north from central areas, Jacobson says farmers in some regions continue to deal with excess field moisture.
With files from Dave Gilson