Recent precipitation welcome but farmers say more wet weather needed

·1 min read
Greg Hawkwood, who farms near Madden, Alta., says the spring wet season typically plays an important role in yearly crop production. (Dave Gilson/CBC - image credit)
Greg Hawkwood, who farms near Madden, Alta., says the spring wet season typically plays an important role in yearly crop production. (Dave Gilson/CBC - image credit)

While recent precipitation in some areas north of Calgary was welcomed by farmers as they prepare for seeding, producers across the province say they'll need more of that wet weather in the weeks and months ahead.

Greg Hawkwood, who farms near Madden, Alta., said last week brought with it a "good foot of wet, heavy snow."

"That's like a million bucks. Because it is so terribly dry," he said.

"Temperature is up, and you see drifts still. But with all that wet, heavy snow, there was no run-off. That just shows you how dry it was, that it just sank right into the ground."

Last summer, Alberta experienced days of scorching heat above 35 C, setting record-breaking temperatures. A number of provincial municipalities declared agricultural disasters.

Dave Gilson/CBC
Dave Gilson/CBC

Despite the welcome moisture, Hawkwood said rain is still needed every month moving forward.

"We're not even close to what we need for moisture. All this just gives us a start — a little hopeful optimism," he said.

Ralph Wright, who manages the agro-meteorological section with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, said soil moisture reserves across much of the province are currently below normal, especially in parts of the south.

He added that the spring wet season is important.

"As spring starts to spring and the showers hopefully start falling, we will start seeing a return to more normal conditions and that's really, really what we're relying on, and we do in every year for that matter," Wright said.

Wright said most growing areas received near normal precipitation through the first three weeks of April.

He added that most lands south of the Trans-Canada Highway have seen precipitation patterns remain well below normal for over a year.

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