County of Wetaskiwin crops face varying weather patterns

County of Wetaskiwin crops face varying weather patterns

Isolated hail in some parts of County of Wetaskiwin harms crops

Central Alberta has seen its share of summer storms this year, however, they have been hit and miss, leaving some crops across the County of Wetaskiwin healthy while others are left damaged by winds and hail.

Division 3 councillor Garry Dearing says if anyone had asked him prior to July 23 he would have said his crops were looking fine and healthy. But hail the evening of July 23 proved quite damaging to areas of division 3.

“For me, until Sunday night things were looking good,” said Dearing.

“I got wiped out,” he added.

Dearing says the County of Wetaskiwin had a fairly wet spring and over the summer moisture levels stayed at a safe range, for the most part.

“I think most areas were looking for some moisture, but we weren’t hurting yet,” said Dearing.

“We needed the moisture but we didn’t need the hail,” he added.

Dearing says for those areas that got the rain but not the hail, the moisture was welcome; and crops not hit by hail should be in an average or better position.

High wind speeds are also affecting farmers crops this year. “Some crops are starting to lodge.”

When Dearing spoke with the Pipestone Flyer July 25 the weather forecast for the remainder of the week sat in the mid to high 20 degrees Celsius range, and too much sun could lead to a different batch of problems for farmers.

He also mentioned if those areas hit by rain and excess moisture continue to see wet weather farmers may see a struggle come fall.

Division 2 councillor Terry Van de Kraats saw none of the hail his council counterpart did.

“The crop’s are looking fairly good considering the spring that we had. How wet it was and how late crops were put in,” said Van de Kraats.

The moisture from the summer storms have been good to the crops, says Van de Kraats.

“Our crops look like they’re average to hopefully better than average,” said Van de Kraats.

More rain throughout the summer, without levels becoming excessive, would continue to benefit the farmers’ crops without making the harvest difficult. “It’s drier now than it was last year,” said Van de Kraats.

However, he says there is still August to get through and once the rains started in July of last year there were not many dry periods for the rest of the summer, forcing some farmers to leave their crops in the fields over the winter.

amelia.naismith@pipestoneflyer.ca