|Mother Nature not slowing down seeding season|
|Local Content - Local Agriculture|
|Written by J.W. Schnarr and Trevor Busch|
|Wednesday, 14 May 2014 17:26|
Rains and frost haven’t been enough to derail what could potentially be a good crop year for two of the area’s more prominent crops, sugar beets and potatoes, according to local industry authorities.
There have been 22,000 acres of sugar beets contracted with Lantic Sugar, Inc. for 2014 with growers. Seeding is now mostly completed.
“The first seeding got underway April 14 in the Vauxhall area, said Andrew Llewelyn-Jones, agriculture superintendent for Lantic Sugar, Inc.
Llewelyn-Jones said due to rains and weather issues the past month or so the crop is 90 per cent seeded with the rest being planted this week as warm weather holds up.
“It’s been intermittent planting,” he said.
“A lot of it went in during the fine weather we had, but of course we had a little bit of rain as well which has impeded some of the progress.”
Another issue Llewelyn-Jones said has affected the crop is a bout of frost last Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, but as of press time the full extent of the damage hadn’t been determined.
“There will be some replants,” he said. “Hopefully not a lot.”
He added some of the first fields to be planted this year with beets already emerging from the ground were severely impacted by frost.
The intermittent planting due to rain meant many acres of beets were not yet coming through the soil when the frost occurred.
“With the later seeding a lot of the beets have been planted but haven’t emerged,” he said. “Hopefully they were protected by the wet soil when we had that frost event.”
“Overall it’s been a good seeding season,” he added.
“If you can get it done by the middle of May then you know you’ve potentially got a good crop in the making.”
On the potato front, seeding has been behind schedule about a week for growers due to inclement weather patterns in early spring.
“Its delayed us about a week to 10 days, but we’re motoring right along,” said Terence Hochstein, executive director of the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA).
“We’ve been delayed this year. Traditionally by now most guys are finished. We need another week — some growers are just about getting done, and some are just barely getting started, but with today’s technology it doesn’t take long to get a crop in the ground.”
Late seeding has the potential to impact the crop late in the growing season, but Hochstein noted this is largely dependent on the nature of the weather throughout the summer.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the time, it’s the weather over the summer. If it is a couple of weeks, or 10 days late, you’ve got to have a good open fall. We’re totally time dependent — we need that 120 or 130 days for a good crop. But we’re still sitting alright.”
Total acres of potatoes sown in 2014 are expected to be approximately the same as that sown in 2013, according to Hochstein.