2021 seeding season is underway in southern Alberta.

Across the prairies, farmers are taking to the fields for the 2021 sowing.

Paul Husted of Husted Farms at Staley, Alta., Said that by now, things are taking shape.

“Our seeding situation in this area has not deteriorated,” he said. “We are getting a strange shower, moisture is on the surface, so the seed is going into good ground.”

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Farmers in southern Alberta observe soil moisture levels near spring

Husteds are dry-land farmers with no irrigation. They are at the mercy of the sky to water their crops and need spring rains to keep the seeds germinating.

“It’s a concern,” Husted said. “We can sprout the crop and if it turns off the tap, the next stage of crop development needs a good drink.”

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The moisture has not yet arrived, said Ross McKenzie, a retired agronomy research scientist in parts of southern Alberta.

“It rains more than last month, usually we get about 35 millimeters of rain in Lethbridge,” McKenzie said.

He said that ideally, soil moisture is around 70 percent to 80 percent at the time of sowing, but when less than 50 percent, germination can be a problem.

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

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

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

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