Wednesday, 03 August 2016 14:18

Alberta producers found July to be rather wet

Written by  Megan Lacelle
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Scott and Larry Heeg stand in one of their fields in the Acadia Valley area. Scott and Larry Heeg stand in one of their fields in the Acadia Valley area. Photo contributed

It’s been the wettest July in the past five years according to the Government of Canada’s historical data.

July saw 72.8 millimetres of precipitation compared to the 20.3 mm in 2015 and the 19.8 mm in 2014. The records only go as far back as 2011 when Medicine Hat reportedly had 30.5 mm in July.
All the extra moisture has made for some excellent crops in the area, but with the extra water comes extra concerns.
“(It’s been) very wet, probably the wettest year I can remember,” said Larry Heeg who farms with his brother and their families around Acadia Valley. “There’s more disease pressure than we're used to, there’s more weed pressure than we're used to, but I mean the crops look very good, but it also comes with its own set of problems that's for sure.”
Heeg, his brother and their families seeded around 10,000 acres of durum wheat, red lentils and oriental mustard this year. Heeg said initially he expected a dry summer, but said it’s been raining nearly every second day now. He also said there have been smaller localized pockets of hail that have caused severe damage in the area.
‘We’re starting to get concerned that it may be a very difficult harvest if the weather continues in the same pattern as it is now,” Heeg said. “(But) this part of the country is more known for being drier than wet so there’s an excellent chance that we will get some dry weather.”
According to the July 26 Alberta Crop Report spring cereals are in the late filling stage while winter cereals ranges from hard dough to ripe; canola, lentils, chickpeas, and mustards are 80 per cent podded while field peas are at around 80 per cent podded.
The report says dryland haying is progressing slowly due to lack of dry weather with only 65 per cent of the first cut crop being baled.
Crop conditions in the southern region are said to be around 69 per cent good or excellent, below the five-year average of 79 per cent. However, Heeg said crop conditions in their area are far more excellent than normal, taking into account the disease and weed problems that have arisen with the excess moisture.
The Heeg family has been farming by Acadia Valley since 1949. Heeg said this year will mark his 42nd crop as a full-time farmer.
“It doesn’t keep raining in this country forever so the chances are pretty good it’ll dry up at some point.”

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