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Soggy forecast worries Canadian farmers in race to sow crops

Staff Writer | May 24, 2017
Heavy rain forecast for the soggiest parts of the Canadian Prairies this week is likely to further delay plantings in the world's biggest canola exporting country, meteorologists say.
Canadian Prairies
Canada   Alberta farmers have until June 5 to plant grain
The rain, forecast to hit the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, would be the latest blow to farmers who could not harvest all of their canola and wheat last autumn due to wet conditions that stretched into spring.

"There's a lot of people who have barely started (planting)," said Laramie Eyben, who farms near Vermilion, Alberta, and has fields too muddy to drive across.

"There will be people who don't get half their crop seeded."

Most planting in the western farm belt is finished in May. Environment Canada, a government agency, said in a statement on Tuesday that 30 to 75 mm (1.2 to 3 inches) of rain will reach west central Alberta by Wednesday.

"The entire northern two-thirds of Alberta, northern one-quarter of Saskatchewan, they don't need a single drop of rain. Every bit of it is too much," said Drew Lerner, senior agricultural meteorologist of World Weather Inc.

Alberta farmers have until June 5 to plant grain and canola to qualify for insurance on crop quality, and until June 20 to qualify for yield insurance.