Farmers have started turning their attention to spring seeding as they wrap up soil tests, check moisture, prep equipment, start doing some pre-seed burnoff, seed treatments
and start planting.

Some producers have slowly started their seeding operations hoping to take advantage of whatever moisture they can, while others are getting ready.

Rain and snow over the last few weeks have been a welcome sight but more is needed after a fairly dry winter resulted in a lack of snow cover in many areas. 

That lack of snow cover is a general concern, but more so for fall and winter cereals that rely on that cover for protection from the wind and extreme temperatures.

This spring has seen a fairly cool start, but we have seen a start to seeding operations across the Prairies, with reports of seeding slowly getting underway in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

A mix of rain and snow is in the forecast across the prairies this week, producers say waiting for a little rain or snow delay now is just fine.

Manitoba is currently seeing some rain and that's expected to last most of the week.

Meantime, Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement in Alberta, with snowfall amounts between 10 to 25 cm possible by Thursday morning, with the highest amounts falling west of Highway 2 over higher terrain.

If the forecast is right, it should bring heavy wet snow mixed with rain in some areas, just how much moisture will we actually see is the big question.

Saskatchewan should catch some of that moisture as well, with a mix of rain and snow in the forecast for most of the province starting tomorrow and throughout the week.

That moisture will be a welcome site, Agriculture Canada's latest drought monitor map (March 31, 2024) have a large portion of the Prairies experiencing abnormally dry to extreme drought and even exceptional drought conditions.

Map of Canada showing drought conditions

In the last week or so we slowly started to see some seeding activity getting underway.

Crops Extension Specialist Shannon Chant says when it comes to seeding its important to pay attention to soil temperatures and make a decision based on the crop being seeded.

"If your looking at peas and lentils usually they can be planted when the average soil temperature is about 5°c, desi chickpeas can also germinate at about 5° large kabuli usually they want it to be a bit warmer around 10°c, as does canola and mustard which can actually germinate pretty low as low as about 2°c. Flax is a bit lower at 3°c or 4°c than cereal crops. Wheat and barley are fairly cold tolerant and can be seeded about 4°c or 5°c."

She notes when seeding early its also important to think about the potential for spring frost, and the damage that can cause especially for crops like canola and mustard.