Harvest begins in Central, Interlake regions; severe drought seen across Manitoba

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for August 3

Southwest Region

A hot, hazy, and smoky week again in the Southwest, with daytime temperatures up to 29 to 32 C, while daily averages around 20 C. Minimum overnight temperatures were down to 6 to 11 C. No showers or rainfall recorded during past week in Southwest region. Rain is needed in whole region for longer season crops and forages as well. 

All cereals have rapidly advanced, with the heat and drier conditions; premature ripening is evident in the driest areas. A few winter cereal 

fields have been harvested. Some oats have been swathed. Harvesting will become more general in coming weeks. 

Crops have dried out on sandy ridges, evident in cereals and canola. All crops are stagey, and shorter than normal. Short cereal fields have the problem of not enough straw for an adequate swath; some may have to switch to straight cut. 

Green wild oats are evident in a number of fields. Lambs quarters are poking through in canola now that the crop is maturing. Kochia is becoming more evident, especially at field edges and saline areas – testing for glyphosate resistance should be a priority, especially when found in glyphosate tolerant crops. 

Pre-harvest herbicides are being applied to crops as needed. Field peas are looking good without any major concerns. Most of the crop is at ripening to dry down stage. 

Some initial pea harvest has begun in lighter soil zones with no yield reports yet.

Soybeans and corn are suffering without moisture. Topsoil moisture is currently adequate for around 30% of the crops and short to very short for the remaining acres. 

Most soybeans have advanced to R5 to R6 stage. Crops are starting to stall and are in need of rain at this point, many acres where leaves are flipping over to tolerate heat and lack of moisture; extremely dry soils are a concern for all later maturing crops. 

Sunflowers are beginning full bloom at R5.5. Fields are tolerating heat and lack of moisture well, however head size is noticeably smaller than average. Some grasshoppers and weevils present around the heads. 

Corn is in the blister stage. Crop is dark green, weathering drought fairly well, however light sandy soils without rainfall are showing signs of severe stress. Crop is in the critical stage for moisture. Cobs are thinner than average at this time. Some hail-damaged corn is recovering. 

Grasshoppers continue to monitored, concern has been mostly in pastures, cereal, forage grass fields, canola and corn. Most grasshoppers have reached maturity. Monitoring will continue for diamondback moth and bertha armyworm larvae. Some thistle caterpillar reported in soybeans. Beneficial and/or predatory insects are being reported in good numbers. 

Pastures are in fair but deteriorating condition in locations that are rotationally grazed. Denser, intensively managed pastures are faring better, with deeper, more established root systems. Feed supplies in these pastures are 

fair. Those that are overgrazed are poor and short and turning dormant. Hay and alfalfa yields are 33 to 50% of normal bale yields with no second cut. Regrowth has stopped in alfalfa. Some ditches are being cut and baled. Some kochia areas are also being ensiled. Dugouts are 10% full, some are being dug deeper. Sloughs are dry again for the most part; creeks are not flowing except the Souris River. 

Northwest Region

The trend of hot temperatures continued this week, continuing to push the crops closer to maturity very quickly. Localized precipitation fell, and some hail along with it. Extent of damage is variable and being assessed at this time. The reproductive phase of some crops was shortened due to high temperatures and will likely result in lower yields. 

Spring wheat is in the soft dough stage continuing to maturity. Earliest seeded crops (10 to 15% of total regional acres) are in the hard dough stage and ripening fast. Approximately 60% of the spring wheat is rated as good, with the remainder of lower quality. Winter cereals in the Roblin/Dauphin regions are close to harvest. Oats and barley are in the dough stage and of variable quality. 

Canola continues highly variable across the region. Approximately half of the canola in the Roblin and Swan River region is good, while the rest is in the fair/poor category. Majority of the canola for the region is podded and ripening quickly. Sunscald is showing up due to high temperatures. Some reseeded and later germinating crops remain flowering. 

Soybeans continue growth with most in the R2 stage in the Swan River and Roblin areas and further along in the R2/R3 in the 

Dauphin/Ste. Rose area. The lack of moisture is starting to show up in some fields as drier portions of fields start to dry up. Yield will be affected with the lack of precipitation at this time. 

Field pea desiccation continues as correct stage is reached. Harvest has started in the Swan Valley, and soon to follow in other areas. Approximately 50% of field peas are in excellent condition in Roblin; 50% in good condition in Swan River and the remainder of peas are in fair/poor condition. 

Bertha Armyworm monitoring has wrapped up with no traps in the Northwest region reaching a level of concern. 

Forages are suffering from the ongoing hot and dry conditions. Pasture condition is deteriorating and grasshoppers continue to cause damage. After consultation with MASC, some producers are cutting annual crops originally intended for grain for silage or greenfeed. Cereal silage and greenfeed harvest progressing well, with barley silage yielding lower at 5 to 7 tons/acre. Crops damaged by hail in last weeks’ storm north of Roblin are also being utilized for livestock feed with producers being cautioned to analyze feeds for nitrates. Water availability for livestock on pasture remains a concern. Producers continue to source and secure feedstuffs to carry their herd through the winter. 

Water sources and moisture conditions continue to deteriorate and are a huge concern to get through the season and going forward. Grasshoppers continue to pressure crop and forages, as hay is removed and/or some form of control on fields have caused them to continue searching for more food. 

Central Region

Sunny with moderate wind speed and varying directions prevailed during the week. Many days shaded by smoky, hazy skies. Little to no dews most mornings. Topsoil moisture is very poor to fair in areas with recent rainfall but continues to deteriorate as later maturing crops extract whatever available moisture remains. Rain is needed to replenish soil moisture in all parts of the region. 

Winter cereals are ripe to nearly ripe. Harvest of perennial ryegrass and fall rye is underway with more being swathed ahead of harvest. Early rye yield reports average 65 bu/acre in the eastern side of the region. 

Wheat, oats and barley are turning and ripening rapidly with the prevailing weather conditions. Spring wheat harvest starting in the Red River Valley on the earliest fields planted with early reported yields in the near 40 bu/acre, with higher test weight. Barley harvest is also underway but no yield reports so far. Barley fields look short and yield expectation is below average. Cereal straw is in high demand as crops are short in stature and hay harvest poor. Oat harvest should start soon as some fields are swathed. 

Weed patches towering above the crop are noticeable in a number of fields. Now is a good time to investigate those patches to determine their cause and sample if suspicious to herbicide resistance or possibly a new weed that should be removed before harvest. Pre- harvest product for perennial weed control and harvest management will begin soon as some crops are ripening rapidly. 

Corn growth varies with moisture conditions. Most fields have tasselled and ear is developing but growth is slowing to stop with the poor moisture conditions. Many fields in the Red River Valley in particular show evidence of severe moisture deficit with leaf rolling symptoms and varying plant height across fields. A number of crops yield viability is in question without rain in the immediate future. Conversion to silage or grazing is risky due to nitrate accumulation. 

Field peas are looking fair to good with most fields ripening to ripe. Harvest has started with yield report in the 25 to 50 bu/acre range depending on soil type and rainfall received during the season. Local cattle producers are baling pea straw. 

Canola fields are done flowering with some almost ripe in the more advanced fields. Grasshopper feeding requiring control measures being applied on field edges or across entire fields as necessary. Heavy populations of aphids noticed on some canola fields as they mature. Flax fields are short in stature, mostly in the boll stage and some even starting to turn. 

Sunflowers are tolerating the warmer temperatures but stands are relatively short. The lack of moisture is limiting growth and development of those fields, and smaller head size is common. Staging is in the reproductive stage ranging from mid-flowering to flowering complete (R.5 to R6). 

Soybean fields are full pod to beginning seed (R4 to R5). Moisture requirement is high during flowering and seed development and critical to these crops now. Many soybean fields are showing signs of moisture deficit stress. 

Field beans are generally still green, but many have noted issues with pod development, or flowers forming, but failing to set pods. 

Potato crops are in different stages of tuber formation and bulking, a critical time for supplemental irrigation. Stem rot has started appearing in some fields. 

Haying progressed well with the dry conditions. Harvested quality is good to excellent but yields are below normal with older hay fields well below normal. Hay fields and pastures are browning off and there will be no second cut in the drier areas. Some spring seeded cereals are coming off as green feed having reduced grain yield potential. Nitrate accumulation in annual forage and straw is a concern to cattle producers. Hay and pastures have stopped growing as moisture conditions continue to deteriorate. Overall existing growth is sufficient but declining for the grazing livestock so far but there is no new growth in many pastures. Grasshoppers continue to be a problem in hay and pasture. 

Eastern Region

Up to 7 mm of rainfall fell last week in the Selkirk to Beausejour area, accompanied by strong to winds and hail. Some crop lodging and crop damage was noted. Day and nighttime temperatures last week remained above normal. Stress from lack of moisture is widespread throughout all districts and overall crop conditions continued to deteriorate. Crop development was pushed along at a rapid pace in the warm dry conditions. 

Winter wheat and fall rye is ripe, harvest is ongoing. Early yield reports have been average with good seed quality and test weight. Yield reports varied from 50 to 80 bu/acre on whole field basis with light soil areas doing as low as 30 bu/acre. Fall rye yields were highly variable in fields in correlation with soil types. Yields ranging from 50 to 90 bu/acre across fields with whole fields averaging out in that 70 to 80 Well-managed spring wheat stands are looking average. Yield potential will be lowered due to dry conditions but average yields possible. Poorly managed stands, particularly in terms of fertility and soil management, are looking rougher. Pre-harvest applications in spring wheat were occurring last week and continue. Harvest is expected to begin this week. Oats harvesting started last week but no yields reported yet. Over all poor yields in oats are expected. 

Harvest is nearly complete in field peas. Yields range from 40 to 60 bu/acre with lots of variability. No quality data yet. 

Canola – Pod filing. Canola crop is short to somewhat shorter in stature and yield potential has been lost due to heat stress and moisture deficit. Crop conditions varies from fair to very poor and correlates closely to soil types planted in. Pods are filling as best they can. 

Flax bolls are filling but crop looking poorly. Flax is not an aggressive or deep rooting plant and stresses are showing. Fields contain completely dried out plants with shrunken seeds in bolls mixed with plants that are still boll filling but with bottom leaves drying out along with plants still trying to flower. Yield potential taking a large hit and crop very uneven now even though most stands emerged evenly and were uniform until dry conditions took hold, followed by rapid deterioration. 

Soybeans are showing widespread leaf flipping as a drought stress symptom, and remain extremely short. Given the crops long season, there is potential for some yield preservation and increased pod set if significant rain occurs soon. 

Corn – R1 but fertilization appears to be done with silks drying out. 

Cobs examined appeared to have seed set right to tips but crop is demonstrating widespread drought symptoms with leaf curling and bottom leaves firing off. Crop generally shorter in stature. 

Sunflowers have reached R5.5 to R5.9 flowering stages with majority close to end of flowering and moving into R6. Some producer concerns expressed about size of heads but still too early to tell final impact of dry conditions are having on this crop. Sunflowers are expected to be the most tolerant of dry conditions. 

Perennial ryegrass harvest is complete with average to above average yields. Overall growers were pleased with yield levels. This crop appears to be well adapted to dry conditions this year. Significant rainfall would still benefit the canola and flax even though crop maturity is progressing rapidly at this time. Rain would ensure seed filling already-formed pods. Soybeans and corn would definitely benefit with soybean still able to add to its pod and seed numbers per plant. 

A very limited amount of spraying for grasshoppers is occurring now, though some canola crops saw flea beetles sprayed on adult plants to reduce crop losses. Some fields are reported to be heavily infested with producers taking measures to protect the crop. Spraying for this crop is not general but there are hotspots and more spraying for flea beetles going on than in 2020. Limited observation of soybean aphids observed to date. 

Hay and pasture conditions have deteriorated further. Dairy farmers have completed second cut with 25% of normal yields. Beef producers in the midst of second cut with lots of variability in progress from producer to producer. Many acres will not experience a second cut because of lack of growth, particularly on less intensively managed stands and wild hay stands. Yields expected to be between 10 to under 25% of normal. Some producers are cutting oat and barley fields for silage or greenfeed. Additional acres of corn meant for grain production will be silaged as well. Pastures condition remains very poor, supplementary or full feeding on pasture going on everywhere. Cattle herds are being sorted and culled with animals being shipped to market. Dugouts are dry, but most livestock watering relies on other sources Eastern region. Livestock water availability is rated as adequate. 

Interlake Region

Extreme to exceptional drought conditions continue across the Interlake. Hot and dry weather has continued to rapidly advance crop dry-down, and hurt yields in later-season crops. Spotty rains fell in the southern part of the region near Petersfield to Selkirk. 

Field peas are being harvested this week, yields average 20 bu/acre, ranging from 15 to 35 bu/acre. 

Winter wheat is yielding approximately 55 bu/acre throughout the south Interlake. 

Most cereals are nearly mature, but most are not being pre-harvest sprayed due to rapid natural drydown and the earliness of harvest in 2021. The occasional field is being desiccated to manage green weeds emerging through thin crop canopies, namely kochia, pigweed, and lamb’s quarters. Spring wheat is 50% ripe, while the other 50% is in the soft dough stage. Wheat yields are between 30 to 40 bu/acre. 

Barley fields are over 80% ripe, and harvest has begun, while oats vary from milky dough stage to ripe. Oat yields reported in the Interlake range from 25 to 70 bu/acre, most hitting the mid 40 bu/acre mark. 

Canola crops are in rough shape, attempting to fill the pods that did form. Heat blast and drought stress in canola has been severe. This will result in significant yield reduction. 

Soybeans, sunflowers, and corn crops are still green, but have stopped actively growing. All three crops remain much shorter than normal, with less anticipated yield. Quality of crop stand remains low, less than 20% of crops are in good condition. 

Perennial forage grass seed is being harvested, yields on newer stands less than two years old are about half of normal, declining roughly 10% per year older than a two-year stand. 

Newer timothy, fescue and perennial ryegrass crops are yielding between 400 to 500 lbs/acre. Hay yields quite poor; vary from 10 to 25% of normal. 

Greenfeed and silaged barley and oats are being made to supplement cattle on pasture and for winter feedstocks. New water wells being drilled and dugouts being deepened due to lack of drinking water for livestock.

For more content related to drought management visit The Dry Times, where you can find a collection of stories from our family of publications as well as links to external resources to support your decisions through these difficult times.

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