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Southern Alberta farmers optimistic after recent rainfall

Recent rainstorms have improved the prospects for southern Alberta farmers Recent rainstorms have improved the prospects for southern Alberta farmers

After a dry winter, southern Alberta farmers were expecting it to be another tough growing season.

But recent rainfall is offering hope this year could be different.

For two days much of southern Alberta was hit with a heavy rainstorm.

Some areas such as Magrath managed to get about three and a half inches of precipitation over the course of the storm.

That was a potential game-changer for some farmers.

“We're feeling a lot better," said Sean Stanford, who farms near Magrath. "We're feeling relieved. It was a good storm, lots of moisture dropped. Different amounts through southern Alberta, but we were pretty fortunate in my area we got a fair bit of rain. It's really going to help the crops this year."

Big change

The recent storm marks a big change from previous years.

Last year Magrath only saw about three inches of rain throughout the entire growing season.

The wet start to the 2024 growing season has farmers in the region feeling optimistic.

Stanford said “It's great news. Everybody's pretty excited and upbeat about it. There's still guys that are seeding and trying to get into the field and things like that. But most people have some crops in the ground already so it's going to be great for those.”

Some areas weren't as lucky.

Fort MacLeod and Claresholm only saw about an inch and a half of rain.

But after such a dry winter, any moisture is welcome. 

“It's wet out there," said Stephen Vandervalk who farms outside Fort Macleod.  "We won't be able to seed for a couple days. Nothing like Medicine Hat and those areas three or four inches in areas, but it's obviously huge.

"We needed the rain," he added. "(It) might make the seeding difficult but in the long run, it's fantastic (news)."

More rain needed

Farmers aren't out of the woods just yet.

While this rain helps, more will be needed through out the growing season to make up for reduced irrigation allocations.

That said, the prognosis is hopeful and the forecast promising.

“We're going to need a lot more going forward, but it's a huge start," Vandervalk said.  "We haven't seen a rain like that since 2020 and then four or five years before that.”

More rain could be on the way.

Long-term forecasts from environment and climate change Canada are predicting the Lethbridge region could have average to above-average rainfall in May and June. Top Stories

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