Cold, wet conditions slow harvest, livestock culling begins

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for October 15

Southwest Region

Colder and wet conditions prevented harvest progress for the past week.  Friday was dry enough for harvesting and fieldwork to start, but snow and rain came in the afternoon.  Snow on the weekend and very cold temperatures most of the nights.  Temperature reported down to -14C on some nights.  Day temperature was also very cold most of the week.  Most of the areas received 5 to 8 mm keeping topsoil wet and providing some subsoil moisture recharge.

Overall harvest is still 75 to 80 per cent complete, not much change from last week. Most of cereal crops are done, but there are some areas north of #16 highway remaining out.

Canola crops are also 75 per cent done.  Some standing canola and swaths are sitting in southern areas, but majority of canola unharvested is in northern parts of the region.

Majority of soybean crops are standing and producers are waiting for good days to harvest. Corn and sunflower are also ready to harvest.

Most of producers are dealing with high moisture grains and working on different options for grain drying.

Most producers have been feeding cattle on pasture or moving them to fall grazing areas.  Snowfall is making grazing a little more difficult.  Some producers talking about feed shortage as we are feeding a month earlier than normal and feed was short.

Northwest Region

There was minimal progress with harvest in the Northwest Region this past week due to continued cool wet weather.  Daytime temperatures were down into the single digits with nighttime temperatures dropping well below zero throughout the entire region.  Precipitation amounts were just enough to slow down the harvest with strong winds bringing in rain and snow over the weekend.  The crop in the northwest region is estimated at 80 to 85 per cent harvested.

The spring wheat crop is mostly harvested throughout the region with the exception of some later seeded fields that remain standing. Yields are good ranging from 65 to 85bu/ac.  Fieldwork and anhydrous applications are taking place as conditions allow.

The wet weather continues to be challenging for producers trying to combine their canola crop.  Any canola harvested this past week came off tough or damp and will need to be dried down for storage.  Around Swan River the canola harvest is about 70 to 75 per cent complete with yields of 45 to 60 bu/ac, canola is yielding 50 bu/ac in the Roblin area.  Harvest operations at The Pas were well underway through the week until a heavy snowfall event on Saturday brought the harvest to a halt.  Areas that have received snow are reporting damage to standing canola fields.  The lentil and pea harvests are complete with yields of 45 to 50 bu/ac and 50 to 70 bu/ac respectively.  Harvest of soybeans is started in the Northwest Region with reported yields of 40 to 45 bu/ac.

With the additional snowfall on the weekend, producer concerns remain about getting forage such as second cut feed, swathed greenfeed and straw baled up.  A narrow window of better weather earlier in the week around Swan River did allow producers to bale up some second cut forage.  Herds continued to be moved to extended grazing pastures and those still remaining on summer pasture are being provided supplemental feed.  The majority of corn silage harvest in the region has been completed.

Central Region

Another week of cool, cloudy, rainy conditions resulting in marginal harvest progress.  Friday was dry enough for some harvesting to take place on the escarpment in the Western side of the region.  Conditions were too wet in the Red River valley for much field activities.  5 to 12 mm of rainfall accumulated in the region including 5 to 8 cm of snow on the weekend.  The forecast this week is for sunny and warming temperatures hopefully providing conditions favourable to advance more of the harvest. Nighttime temperatures were below the freezing mark.

Some of the soybean harvest was done but some areas remained inactive due to wet soil conditions.  Later harvested soybean fields are yielding reasonably well in the low 40 bu/ac to the low 50 bu/ac with low green seed content.

Planted winter cereals are growing slowly with the cold and cloudy conditions.  The earliest planted fields have up to three leaves while some later planted fields have sprouted to have one leaf emerged.

Wheat, oats and barley harvest considered done as well, as much of the canola. Remaining canola fields harvested are coming off tough to dry but have good seed quality.

Flax is ripe with harvest about 80 to 90 per cent done. Sunflowers are ripe and coming off somewhat tough but with good seed quality. Good test weight is reported and yields are excellent. Little progress made last week for sunflower.

Grain corn harvest progressed this week especially in the Red River valley and there is still a good proportion to be harvested. Reported yields are in the 120 to 130 bu/ac with grain moisture reported in the 25 per cent to higher still. Corn silage harvest is considered complete for the year.

No significant harvest progress made on edible beans which is about 80 to 85  per cent completed.

Post harvest tillage progressed somewhat but wat limited due to the regular light rains and wet soil surface conditions. Soil sampling continues during the fall fertilization period. Manure application continued where field conditions were suitable for machinery operations.

Potato harvest is reported as 85 per cent + complete. Carman/Winkler finished with Carberry, Glenboro to Rathwell and Portage la Prairie areas still digging. Good yield reports in the 300 to 350 cwt/ac range and some field exceeding 400 cwt/ac.

Topsoil moisture conditions have improved for pastures, but growth is stopped as temperatures are too cold. Many producers have been supplementing hay in pastures. Calves are being weaned and either backgrounded or sold directly off the cow. Cattle that are extended grazing on second cut hay fields have good quality and volume for grazing.

More than usual feed sampling and testing to measure feed quality and determine nitrate level as potential feeding risk. Livestock producers are sourcing alternative feed sources to meet their needs.

Livestock water supply is poor and holding with water levels in the 25 to 35 per cent range in dugouts with poorer water quality.

Eastern Region

Rainfall accumulation continued to vary across region this week. Accumulations varied from 5 to 25 mm.  Soil moisture conditions on crop land were rated as about 100 per cent surplus in northern districts. Central districts are rated 40 per cent Surplus and 60 per cent Adequate. In southern districts, soil moisture conditions on crop land were rated as 10 per cent adequate, 60 per cent short and 30 per cent very short.

Weather over the last week was colder than normal and wintery with both rain and snow falling many times over the week in a highly variable pattern across the region.  Some temperatures in region reached -10C or lower. A couple of sunny afternoons is all we got for drying weather.

Very little field work was done, but some are trying to do some tillage by driving on the frost when the ground is frozen in the mornings.  Very little fall fertilizer applied so far in Northern areas.  Most producers are focused on getting their harvest completed. The forecast going forwards looks more favourable and producers are hoping we get that seasonal stretch of good weather that we often get after a wet September/October.

Harvest progress in the Eastern region estimated at 85 per cent complete.  Cereal harvest is wrapped up.  Yields and quality were both very good this year. Spring Wheat yields range from 50 to 80 bu/ac.  Reports indicated good quality and protein levels ranging from 13 to 16 per cent.  Oat acres harvested with reported yields ranging from 80 to 130 bu/ac.

Canola harvest is complete with yields ranging from 35 to 60 bu/ac with good quality. Soybean harvest is estimated at 85 per cent complete as an average for the region (Northern districts are at 75 per cent complete while Central and Southern districts are at 90 per cent complete). Harvest is on-going with yield reports in the 30 to 50 bu/ac range. It is a frustrating process in some fields because of muddy conditions. Yield levels remain above initial expectations.

Sunflowers harvest is rated at 20 per cent complete. Oil sunflower yield levels have been excellent at 2500 to 3000 lb/ac reported.  Low levels of sunflower head rot observed by growers as they harvest.  The weather was definitely to the sunflower’s liking this year.  Not enough confection types harvested for a yield or quality report at this time.  Corn harvest is on-going and estimated at 40 per cent complete but varies greatly depending on the districts. Yields have been reported in the 100 to 150 bu/ac range but quite variable.  Producers have been picking away at corn and sunflowers wherever they can and making lots of use of the grain dryer.  Producers were trying everything and anything to keep on harvesting and did make some progress. So far, quality of soybean, corn and sunflower crops harvested remains good.

Hay and pasture land moisture conditions were rated as 10 per cent adequate, 50 per cent short and 40 per cent very short.  Pasture land conditions were rated as 30 per cent fair, 40 per cent poor and 30 per cent very poor.  Producers are weaning calves and feeding livestock on pasture as well as putting cows on hay fields. Dugouts have about 20 per cent of the water capacity with some dugouts dry. Some producers are hoping to cut second cut grass that was fertilized with hog manure. Winter feed supplies of hay are rated at 50 per cent adequate and 50 per cent inadequate, straw is rated at 40 per cent adequate and 60 per cent inadequate.  Greenfeed is rated as 100 per cent adequate with the feed grain supply rate at 80 per cent adequate and 20 per cent inadequate.  The availability of livestock water is rated at 80 per cent adequate and 20 per cent inadequate.

Interlake Region

Rainfall amounts of under 10 mm were the norm for the region this past week.  Cloudy weather resulted in poor drying conditions; harvest progress was minimal for many.  Producers did take advantage of small windows of favorable conditions at the end of the week, with focus on soybeans.  Much of the crop harvested has to be aerated and/or dried, to keep grain in condition for storage and reduce spoilage.  Muddy conditions are limiting harvest and fieldwork; forecast of sunny warmer temperatures this week will advance the harvest.

Cereal harvest is 99 per cent complete with a wide range of yields.

Canola harvest is now 98 per cent complete. Soybean harvest varies from 60 to 55 per cent complete; yields from 15 to 50 bu/ac.  High green seed content is no longer an issue.  Muddy fields are now a concern.

Seeded acres of fall rye have increased over last year, due to good contracts available.  Some winter wheat has gone in.

Some flax is still standing; harvest may be delayed until the ground is frozen.  Reported yields range from 18 to mid-30 bu/ac.

Sunflowers are coming off, no yield reports yet. Grain corn is as much as 45 per cent complete in some areas, while others are just getting started.  Harvest progress is dependent on both field conditions and moisture levels.

Much of the seed alfalfa is harvested.  As with other crops, yields are widely variable.  A few fields with poor seed set were taken for hay.  Many report typical yields of 150 to 350 lb/ac, with some reports of much higher yields of 900 lb/ac and more.

Where conditions allow, phosphorus, potash and sulphur fertilizers are being applied particularly on fields intended for soybeans or canola next year. NH3 applications have started.  Soil testing continues and fieldwork, where possible.

Cattle have been turned out onto hay fields. Cattle on pasture are receiving supplemental feeding.  Sourcing of hay for cattle and horses continues.

Forage samples are being submitted for nitrate analysis.

Early weaning and pregnancy checking occurring in livestock due to feed/pasture shortage and low dugout levels.

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