Boost in moisture gives producers confidence
While rain keeps falling, farmers appear to be optimistic about the potential for crops this season.
While last year’s dry conditions threatened crops in the field early in the season, a series of early July rain showers have boosted some confidence. As Al Hampton, Agricultural Fieldman for Starland County points out, the showers have been localized.
“Around Drumheller it is extremely wet. From Drumheller to Verdant Valley, and Delia and Craigmyle, that is where there has been really heavy rain, but the rest of the county has also received some rain,” said Hampton. “The bulk of Starland is in really good shape.”
While the rain is welcome for many, for those trying to put up a little bit of feed with their first cut, that might be stalled.
The only guys who aren’t happy at this point are guys who are trying to hay,” said Hampton. “It’s wet and it is not drying very well, and there is a little bit that has been cut and the quality has been deteriorating as it hasn’t been baled up.”
While he has heard there has been about 1,900 hail claims province wide, but not in Starland.
“We have had a little bit of hail, but nothing I would put a claim in on. The hail has caused a little bit of bruising. West of me for about four or five miles there was a strip that took a pretty good beating but the crop was early enough that it will probably recover, but it is set back a little,” said Hampton.
Russel Muenchrath, Agricultural Fieldman for Wheatland County agrees that conditions so far are favorable for a strong crop come fall, however there has been some localized hail damage.
“In Rockyford last Monday we had some hail. The storms have been sporadic. It is hit and miss, some areas have been hit pretty badly and some haven’t gotten as much. The same as with the rain,” said Muenchrath. “With some of the cereal crops the heads were just coming out, so I imagine some of those emerging heads got knocked off, so they might not be as good.”
With damp weather however comes the risk of disease.
“Any time there is increased moisture, there is increased risk of problems with disease. There have been a few insect problems like with cabbage seedpod weevil,” he said. “The hail continues to be a risk as we go on into the season, and with the ongoing rain, it could cause some ponding in areas which causes trouble with some crops.”
On the whole though compared to last year the grains are looking pretty good,” said Muenchrath. Hampton has a similar outlook.
“I would say potentially it is shaping up to be a good year in the area,” said Hampton.
From Drumheller to Verdant Valley, and Delia and Craigmyle, that is where there has been really heavy rain. The bulk of Starland is in really good shape.”
The majority of crops in the Drumheller area are in good shape following the recent unstable weather patterns.