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Spring’s first crop report shows southern Alberta seeding at 40 per cent

Posted on May 31, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Collin Gallant
Southern Alberta Newspapers

Seeding in southern Alberta was about 40 per cent complete when heavy rain set in over the region last week, according to the first Alberta crop report of the spring.

Released May 10 and covering conditions as of May 7, the overview states farmers were likely trying to get ahead of expected rain, pushing progress ahead of the five- and 10-year average for all crops in the Medicine Hat-Lethbridge-Foremost-Strathmore regions.

Among major crops, durum acres led the way at 55.1 per cent, followed by dry peas (54.5), spring wheat (47.1) and barley (43.7), with canola (11.7) coming up behind. Potatoes were two-thirds complete.

Precipitation boosted soil moisture conditions stated as 55 per cent good and 33 per cent fair. Pasture condition was only 16 per cent poor.

Seeding was about one-quarter complete for major crops in central Alberta, and just beginning in northern areas.

Beet harvest beats ’23

The 2023 sugar beet harvest in southeast Alberta produced about 10,000 tonnes more of sugar than the previous year, Lantic Sugar announced May 9.

The company that produces Rogers Sugar and operates a refinery in Taber said production from the processing campaign that ended in February was 115,000 tonnes, about 7 per cent more than the previous year due to favourable growing conditions.

Alberta Sugar Beet Growers and the company are currently in the second of a two-year contract with talks toward the next deal to begin later this year.

Lantic also stated in quarterly financial statements that a labour dispute and shutdown of a Vancouver facility resulted in a 23,500-tonne reduction in sales.

Beef workers prep for strike

The union representing about 400 employees at Cargill’s case-ready beef packing plant in Calgary is calling for a strike vote after contract talks began last summer.

The United Food and Commercial Workers, Local No. 401, told members in a bulletin May 10 to support a strike mandate and prepare for a work stoppage.

That comes after union members rejected a mediated settlement in December.

UFCW members at Cargill’s major processing plant in High River recently signed a contract that expires at the end of 2026.

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