Most of the southwest region received rainfall over the past week. Amounts varied with higher accumulations south of number 1 highway with reports of 25 to 40 mm, with areas near Brandon and south receiving the highest amounts. Some areas near Russell and Birtle received the lowest amounts of rainfall and could use more moisture at this stage as crops are emerging. Cool to cold growing conditions remain an issue and most of the region received a frost on the morning of the 27th. Overnight temperatures ranged from zero to -4 C across the southwest, with the duration of the frost being of greater concern. Reports of sub-zero temperature for up to 8 hours in some locations.
Seeding in the Southwest is about 85-90 per cent complete with soybeans and silage being the two major crops left to plant.
Winter wheat and fall rye continue with very slow progress. A few rye fields are at boot stage but most winter wheat is still tillering. Weed control complete in these fields.
Cereal crops seeding is 95 per cent complete. Some early seeded cereals are approaching in crop weed control timing as most cereals are now at the two-leaf stage. Canola is about 80 per cent complete with some canola/mustard emerged and at cotyledon stage, with some frost damage expected from Monday morning lows. Peas are 100 per cent seeded with good emergence. Some fields are close to 2 to 3 node stage. Soybeans are about 70 per cent complete with some early seeded fields starting to emerge in the southern part of region. Some producers hare rolling their soybean fields.
Corn seeding 60 per cent complete with remainder to be planted being silage corn.
Most farms have seeded fence line to fence line with lack of standing water in historic potholes. Cereals tolerating some saline patches better than expected.
Diamondback moth traps showing very low numbers at this stage. Flea beetles making an appearance on canola already as well as some grasshoppers in cereals.
Cool temperatures, light frosts and dry conditions have reduced potential forage growth. Rain over the weekend was the first and/or the most substantial precipitation of the year, but followed on Sunday night by frost. Alfalfa, in particular, has been set back again. Producers are contemplating annual crop options to make up for potential reduced hay yields. Many producers have sent cattle to pasture due to lack of on-farm feed. Dugouts, sloughs and streams remain low.
Warmer daytime temperatures prevailed this past week; however, there was frost over the weekend as the thermostat dipped below zero both Saturday and Sunday nights.
The extent of frost injury is still being assessed with some reports received of only minimal damage. Scattered rain events and localized trace rain showers resulting in 2 to 5mm near San Clara, Rorketon and east of Dauphin Lake. There was good seeding progress in most of the region with the majority of the spring wheat in the ground, canola seeding is nearing completion and seeding of soybeans, oats and barley is well underway. Soil moisture conditions throughout the region are good although soil conditions around Roblin and Dauphin are dry and need rain.
Overall seeding progress throughout the region at 90 per cent complete however; there are some parts of the region where operations are still ongoing. Seeding of spring wheat and canola nearly complete and the warm weather has resulted in good seedling emergence. Pea seeding complete and emergence was noticeable with the warmer temperatures this past week. Soybeans are 85 per cent seeded. The majority of the corn silage acres in the area planted.
Weeds are actively growing and herbicide applications are occurring as appropriate crop stages reached. Trap counts for diamondback moths remain low in the region and insect activity has not been an issue.
With only trace amounts of precipitation and low overnight temperatures this past week, forage growth on hay and pasture is minimal. Significant rain needed soon to stimulate growth. Cattle moved out of yards still need supplementation on majority of pastures. Pasture previously rotationally grazed with adequate rest have shown better regrowth. Producers report that dugouts are half to three-quarters full.
Cool, dry conditions continued for the first part of the week allowing field operations to progress until light showers came mid-week in parts of the region. The majority of the region received 10 to 25 mm of rain of Friday that helped replenish topsoil and some subsoil moisture. Treherne received the most with 38 mm while areas in the southeastern part of the region around Ridgeville and north central area around Portage received less. Moderate to cool temperatures prevailed during the week. Frost overnight on Sunday recorded across the region lows of -2.5 C for 6 hours in the Gladstone area. Other parts of the region recorded negative values but for shorter duration. Since the rain, field operations stopped but most growers were already finished seeding.
Seeding of wheat, oats, barley and field peas are now complete. Earliest planted cereals in the 3 leaf stage. Corn has been going in steadily and close to completion. Some of the earliest planted corn fields are emerging. Overall seeding considered 99 per cent done, with the remainder finished this week.
Canola, flax and sunflower seeding considered complete. Monday morning’s frost caused some damage to early emerged canola, where severity is being assessed. Flea beetle feeding also reported on early emerging canola fields and foliar protection being applied where needed. Potato planting considered 95 per cent complete and earliest planted fields should be emerging soon. Soybean planting has been steady now that soil temperatures have warmed up with 95 per cent of acres done. Early seeded soybeans emerging now but the majority has just germinated and not through the ground yet. Field bean planting about 40 to 60 per cent complete. Dry beans will still need a week to complete seeding.
Winter wheat, fall rye and perennial ryegrass fields are also benefiting from the warmer weather and the recent rain. Those cereals are tillering well and some are at the boot elongation stage. Herbicide applications are occurring on those fields as required.
Field sprayers are starting to roll out since weeds are also taking advantage of the warmer weather. Very strong winds this week will make it challenging apply. Before the rain, exposed dry topsoil was starting to drift in those high wind conditions.
Early crop scouting has found the odd cutworm and some flea beetles. Significant flea beetle damage reported on a number of fields in the Red River Valley and the occasional field has been reseeded. Diamondback moth traps set up to capture early arrivals of this insect have none counted above the escarpment but are showing up in the Red River Valley in increasing numbers.
Hay and pasture fields are greening up but need additional rain to increase yield potential. More cattle are starting to move onto pasture, but many pastures still do not have adequate grass to meet cattle requirements. Producers short or out of feed are moving cattle onto grass sooner than they want to.
Pastures overgrazed last year are slower to re-grow this spring. The frosts/cooler weather is stressing and slowing the hay and pasture growth. Dugouts did not fully recharge this spring ranging from half to nearly full with an average of three- quarters full. Livestock water supplies are adequate at this time but will need rain to maintain levels. Alfalfa fields in the Portage area are up to 15 inches in height and still in the vegetative stage. The grass hay growth has been poor to date.
Precipitation across the region ranged from 8 to 27 mm. Rainfall accumulation was notably higher in central and southern areas of the region. Overall, daytime temperatures below normal last week, resulting in slow crop and weed development. Frost occurred in the early morning hours of May 27th. Lowest overnight temperature in the region was at the Beausejour weather station as -3.9 C. Crops are currently being assessed for damage with most concern focused on seedling canola.
Seeding is essentially complete. Herbicide application to fall seeded cereals could be widespread this week if the weather allows. Herbicide application to spring seeded crops may begin this week but is expected to become much more general next week. Weed emergence has been slow so far give the weather conditions (i.e. cool temperatures and low rainfall levels). This has slowed early spraying. However, recent rainfall may finally encourage more weed development. A few cases of insecticide application for the control of flea beetles in canola reported. Damage levels from flea beetles so far appear to be low.
Winter wheat and fall rye fields continue to look good. Overall, only about 5 per cent of fall-seeded cereals are had winterkill. Winter wheat field are mostly at the 4 to 5 leaf stage with 2 to 3 tillers.
Spring wheat growth stages range from emergence (in the case of late seeded fields) to the 2 to 3 leaf stage. Corn continues to emerge while canola growth stage ranged from cotyledon to 1 leaf. A small amount of last minute planting still occurring with soybeans, but early planted acres are currently emerging, as are sunflowers. Concerns from last week about spotty crop emergence have been somewhat alleviated this week because of recent rainfall.
Hay field conditions rated as 60 per cent fair, 30 per cent poor and 10 per cent very poor with pasture conditions rated as 50 per cent fair, 30 per cent poor and 20 per cent very poor. It was noted that some last minute seeding of cereal crops for greenfeed is occurring to help ensure adequate winter feed supplies. Livestock are being moved to pasture with some feeding happening on pasture. Fertilization of hay and pasture fields continues. Availability of livestock water rated as 100 per cent.
Cooler than normal temperatures have continued. All parts of the region had freezing temperatures Sunday night to Monday morning, down to -3 C for several hours. No serious damage reported to date, but crop assessments continue. Temperatures are trending upwards. Daytime highs reached 22 to 24 C; average temperature range for the previous week crept up to 9 to 11 C. Trace rainfall with most areas receiving 5 to 8mm; there is increased concern with lack of rain in all parts of the region. Precipitation, growing degree days and corn heat units are all well below normal for this time of year.
Excellent seeding progress made this week, with seeded acres ranging from 85 to 99 per cent for the region, with the majority at 95+ per cent finished. Most report good seedbed conditions; spring tillage has dried out the soil surface, especially on lighter textured soils. Timely rains needed to support all crops, as all soils are dry below the top 6 inches. Crops are germinating and emerging, but shallow seeded crops, canola in particular, remain sitting in dry soil. Activity has been at a steady pace, with cooler temperatures and dry conditions.
Peas and fababeans are up, peas at 1 to 2 nodes. Cereal seeding estimated at 95 to 100 per cent complete. Spring wheat is emerging to 2 leaf stage, and some early 3 leaf. Emergence rated as fair to good, a result of cool temperatures and dry soils. Rain will even things up. Oats are emerging to 2 leaf. Most corn – both grain and silage planted and emergence has started. Some have chosen to seed soybeans before canola. Producers want to avoid flea beetle pressure associated with slow germination due to cold soils, as seen in recent years. Rapid emergence in warm soils will go far to eliminate the problem. Canola is estimated at 95+ per cent complete. No significant reports of frost injury, to date; canola is in cotyledon stage. Flax has emerged. Soybeans and corn estimated at 95 per cent complete. Soybeans are starting to crack the ground. Some corn may be swing acres – go to feed if forage supplies continue to be a concern.
Greenfeed acres reported to be up significantly, with majority complete. Some oat and barley acres will remain flexible, going as grain or feed as necessary. Forage oat and barley varieties are in short seed supply with increased acres. New hay acres being seeded, with older stands being rejuvenated. Winter survival of perennial crops seems to be good, with slow growth under cool temperatures. Warmer forecast will allow crop growth to jump; producers hope rain will follow shortly.
Weeds have been slow to grow as well, but trouble spots of wild oats are emerging to 1+ leaves, dandelions are flowering. Broadleaf weeds are starting to emerge – wild buckwheat, lambsquarters, cleavers and smartweeds.
Most report lower annual weed pressure than normal. Some herbicide applications have been made, including grass control in canola. Pre-emergent treatments continue on later seeded crops. Spraying will ramp up through the week, and is expected to be general by the weekend/early next week.
Diamondback moth traps are out. Adult moth count numbers are very low. Volunteer canola is seeing heavy flea beetle feeding pressure, as are some early seeded fields. Fields are being treated for flea beetles, some headlands only, and entire fields in some cases. Populations vary widely over the region.
Forage availability is a concern for the region. Pastures were generally overgrazed last fall, compounding concerns. Regrowth has been slow with cold conditions. Alfalfa has stretched to 7 inches, but wilting due to frost is evident. Grasses are slower to grow than normal. Some pastures currently being stocked due to exhausted hay supplies. High costs and low feed availability are contributing factors. Rain and warmer temperatures needed for regrowth. Native hay supplies are at risk due to poor moisture recharge. Pastures rated as 40 per cent fair to 10 per cent very poor. Hay crops rated as 15 per cent good to 25 per cent poor.
Dugout levels are below normal, and sometimes dry. Water supply rated as 90 to 95 per cent adequate, but rain is needed.