Harvest completion at 65 per cent, pastures improve to support grazing

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for September 14

Southwest Region

Cooler, cloudy weather dominated this past week, with heavy showers falling along the border Monday afternoon. Recent weather has been conducive to harvest, with moderate daytime highs, coupled with light winds and cool nights for grain aeration. Good weather throughout the week allowed producers to accelerate harvest activities. Minor showers were reported on the northwestern side of the region as well, but no major rain event happened this past week in the region. Temperatures were up to 24 to 30 C; daily averages around 15 C. Minimum overnight temperatures ranged from 1.4 to 5.6 C. 

Harvest is estimated at as much as 55 to 60% complete. Yields are highly variable. Many report better than expected yields, considering the year. Pea harvest is complete, early yields are reported in the 40 to 50 bu/ac range. 

Cereal harvest has progressed well to 80 to 85% complete. Barley is 90% harvested, with yields at 55 to 80 bu/acre. Spring wheat harvest is 75% done and yielding 40 to 55 bu/acre. Oats harvest 90% and are coming in the 65 to 90 bu/ac range. Good quality and weight are reported in most of the harvested cereals. Protein levels are average to above average in lower-yielding fields. Cereal straw is being dropped; baling is right behind the combine and bales are being removed from fields within a short period. More acres than normal are being baled for cattle producers; bales per acre are fewer than normal. 

Canola harvest completion has quite a range, from 40% to 45% complete; several producers are waiting to finish the last few fields. Strong winds have blown canola swaths around, making combining a challenge. Canola yields were reported in the 25 to 40 bu/ac range depending on the variety and moisture conditions during the growing season. Swathing in later seeded and re-seeded canola has been mostly completed. Flax harvest has begun with 5 to 10% completed at this stage. No yield reports yet. 

Rapid colour change and leaf drop is ongoing in soybeans. The growth stage is late R7 and R8. Harvest of a few fields reported, but no yields to date. Sunflowers are at R7 to R8 stage. Stands are short. Some corn is starting to shut down most of the crop is at the R5.9 stage, just prior to black line formation. 

Good field conditions following rains have allowed for seeding of hybrid fall rye and winter wheat, along with the beginning of tillage operations. Some fall fertilizer application has begun. Post-harvest weed control has started. Rains have greened up perennial weeds, as well as volunteers on harvested cropland. 

Pasture and hay crops are faring better, with some alfalfa regrowth resulting in a few farmers choosing to do a late second cut if feed is short. Cattle still out on pasture are enjoying fresh green grass. Some overgrazed areas still have herds on them with a short grass feed supply. The silage process has begun with custom crews in the area. Silage yield appears to be average. Dugouts are at 50% capacity. 

Northwest Region

A decent week of weather for harvest to progress across the region. Overnight temperatures on the weekend dipped near freezing in some areas of the region, with Inglis briefly at -0.4 C and Minitonas at 0.3 C. Late season moisture has caused some delay in drying of crops, including canola and flax. Some post harvest field tillage operations have taken place across the region. 

Spring cereal harvest is mostly complete in the southern part of the region, while the Swan River and Roblin areas are about 90% complete. Yields ranging from 40- 70 bu/ac in spring wheat. The recent rains have caused some regrowth in oat crops. 

Canola desiccation continues as stages are reached and harvest progress is approximately 55 to 60% complete across the region, with the exception of The Pas. The effects of the growing season are reflective in the yields with ranges from 15 to 30 bu/ac in poorer stands, while better stands range from 45 to 50 bu/acre. Recent rains have caused some drydown and regrowth issues in canola crops. Soybeans continue to ripen and are at the R7 to R8 stage with some fields close to being ready for harvest within the next week. Flax and fababeans also continue to ripen. 

Pastures have responded well to the late summer rains and are in good condition for this time of year, with continued grazing on most pastures. Many producers are grazing re-growth of annual fields that has occurred with the recent precipitation. Corn silage harvest will begin soon. Some producers are waiting to harvest recent growth on alfalfa fields until after the first killing frost now. Cereal straw baling is wrapping up. Producers continue to make winter feeding plans. Water levels have increased but more is still needed to replenish water supply for next year. 

Central Region

Sunny to partly cloudy conditions prevailed this week without precipitation resulted in good harvest progress. Temperatures are cooling but remain in the normal range for this time of year. Topsoil moisture has improved with recent rains. Forecast this week is for mostly sunny and dry conditions with near normal temperatures for this time of year. Harvest progress should continue this week. 

Winter cereal planting continues on suitable harvested fields. Earliest planted fields have emerged uniformly with the favourable topsoil moisture conditions. 

Wheat, oats and barley harvest is considered complete. Wheat sample discoloration and some sprouting reported on later wheat harvested due to the recent rainier conditions. Most available cereal straw has been baled and removed from fields. Most harvested fields were harrowed post harvest to distribute crop residue and stimulate volunteer grain growth. Canola harvest progressed well during the week and weekend. Harvest progress is estimated at 80 to 90% with reported yields ranging from 15 to 50 bu/acre. Harvested grain quality is very good so far. 

Canola regrowth is a concern in some fields with some fields starting to flower again. Termination of those fields may be required before harvesting the grain. Grasshopper and flea beetle feeding slowed with the recent cool wetter conditions. 

Flax fields are ripe with good harvest progress achieved. Yield reports in the 15 to 25 bu/ac range, with a few black seeds. Harvest progress is estimated at 50 to 60% complete. Flax fields recently treated with harvest management products should ready for harvest soon. Flax straw is being baled or burned. 

Soybean harvest has started in the Red River Valley and should continue to progress and expand across the region as more fields mature and dry down. No yields reported to date but expectations are that yields will vary widely depending on seasonal moisture received. 

Dry edible bean harvest is also underway. Recent reported yields are in the 1,000 to 1,200 lbs/ac range in moisture-limited areas and up to 1,600 lbs/ac in areas with better moisture conditions. 

Potato harvest is progressing with 15 to 20% done to date. Yields have been fair to good. Harvest is expected to pick up rapidly this week as stands have reached proper maturity stage. Disease concerns remain low. 

Sunflower stands are relatively short from the prolonged dry conditions. As plants matured seed filling benefitted from the improved soil moisture. Flowering is complete with back of the heads yellow in the R8 stage, some sclerotinia head rot observed. Desiccation of mature fields is expected to begin this week. 

Corn seed filling has slowed as stands are maturing. Better growing and developed corn fields are in the late hard dough and dented with some fields turning colour and black layer reached. 

Field tillage is picking up pace with the favourable topsoil moisture. Soil sampling continues on harvested fields with elevated residual nitrogen reported in general. Manure application to fields is ongoing as harvest progresses. Perennial weed regrowth and winter annual weed emergence are favoured by moist topsoil conditions. Post-harvest weed control application is ongoing.

Recent rains and cooler conditions have improved pasture and forage conditions significantly. Grasshoppers are less noticeable and less damaging. Extra straw is being baled for livestock feed. Annual grain crops are being put to alternative use as silage and feed including grain corn being switched to silage. 

Second cut alfalfa and pastures are re-growing well. There will be adequate second cut that will be grazed or cut for hay later close to a frost. Nitrates are still a concern in cereal or canola regrowth being considered for grazing. The recent rains are providing fall grazing and are helping corn fill but overall winter feed supplies remain short. Cattle no longer require supplementation on most pastures as forage growth is adequate. Water availability is better but surface supply and quality is still low. 

Eastern Region

Rainfall accumulation across the region over the reporting period ranged from zero to 7 mm at weather stations. Rainfall accumulation in northern districts over the reporting period ranged from trace amounts to less than 10 mm as scattered showers and intermittent rain with most of that occurring last Friday. Temperatures began the reporting period ranging from seasonal to above seasonal and then cooled to more seasonal temperatures over the weekend. Rapid progress continued with harvesting, fieldwork and the seeding of winter cereals. Seeding of fall rye and winter wheat into canola stubble is about 70% complete. 

Spring wheat harvest is almost complete continued with an estimated 98% of acres harvested. Yield reports range from 45 to 70 bu/ac with reports indicating good quality and bushel weights. Wheat protein ranged from 10.5 to just over 14%. Producers are reporting that many buyers have implemented protein discounts. Oats yields have been disappointing overall, yield reports ranged from 50 to 100 bu/ac with 70 bu/ac bring average with light bushel weights. Oats harvest progress estimated at 98% complete. Bushel weights range from 37-40 lb/bu, overall oat quality is below average for the year. 

Canola yield reports range from 10 to 40 bu/ac, averaging 20 to 25 bu/acre. Canola harvest proceeded rapidly during the past week with about 80% of the crop in the bin and the rest ready to go as weather allows. Overall, canola is yielding slightly better than expected given the poor outlook for the 2021 crop. 

Flax harvest began last week but no yield reports to date. Most crop was either drying down for straight cutting or drying in the swath. Crops that suffered the most due to drought appear to be the first harvested because they simply dried out. More harvest progress is expected in the coming days. Below average yield expected given how poorly the crop handled drought stress. A number of flax crops are regrowing, branching off the main stem and blooming, complicating matters for a uniform crop harvest. 

The majority of soybean fields are at in later R7 to R8 (95% brown pod) and are drying down rapidly. Early varieties being grown for seed production will be harvested very soon. Other early varieties are beginning to be harvested but no yield reports are available yet. The majority of sunflower fields are somewhere in stage, with some fields in late R8 (back of head yellow but bracts remain green). Producers are preparing for crop desiccation. 

Grain corn is in mid to late dent stage (R5.9), with some crops at or very close to black layer (R6). Corn vegetation is drying down and starting to turn brown. Yield expectations overall continue to be lower than average with some interest in ensiling the crop rather than taking it for grain, to help address the feed shortages in the region. 

Pasture and hay lands continued to show improvement over the reporting period but are not proving to be a significant source of extra forage. Second cut is ongoing for beef producers with a very wide range in progress and the activity will be ongoing over the coming weeks. Beef producers who delayed their second cut and are finding that quality of the forage has significantly degraded (forage has gone to seed) but the delay has increased tonnage. Some beef producers holding off cutting until the first killing frost but concerned it may not happen soon. Dairy producers have completed third cut and reported higher yields than expected although low compared to normal years. Producers continue to work at making sure they secure enough feed, meaning lots of straw being baled, greenfeed opportunities were taken and more grain corn is going for silage. Corn silaging is ongoing and estimated at 55% complete. Some delays resulted due to dry cobs, but plant material is not drying down sufficiently. 

Interlake Region

Good harvest weather allowed Interlake farmers to progress slowly with canola and begin soybean harvest. 

Recent rainfall has replenished surface soils, causing drought- stressed crops to break out of dormancy and regrow in canola and flax fields, leading to harvest problems. Many canola and flax crops are blooming from side branches, leading to harvest delays of previously ripe crops. Farmers are choosing to desiccate, swath, leave until a frost, or cut and feed canola regrowth. 

Canola harvest sits at approximately 55% complete, with more harvested in the southern parts of the region. Yields range from zero to 30 bu/acre. Some of the poorest crops (<5 bu/ac) are being ensiled as livestock feed. Swathed canola lying among blooming regrowth is proving to be a challenge for combines to pick up, and farmers are considering to spraying between rows to kill green material. Many fields will only see the combine harvest parts of the crop, and setting header table height as high as possible to reduce green residue in grain samples and lower harvest moisture sample. Canola is immediately put on aeration due to higher green matter dockage due to fears of heated canola. 

Spring wheat harvest is over 95% complete, yields ranging from 150 to 40 bu/acre. Field pea yields averaged 25 bu/acre. Straw of all types is baled as winter roughage. 

Remaining unharvested cereals and some poor soybeans were made as silage or greenfeed. Volunteer regrowth on cereal fields is being grazed in some cases. 

Soybean crops are all dropping leaves this week, and will start reaching full harvest towards the weekend. Green weeds remain on many fields that had thin or no canopy cover this summer. Kochia, biennial wormwood, thistles, cocklebur and pigweed are the main weeds standing in crops. 

Sunflowers are beginning to reach full maturity, with banana-yellow colouration of the back of the seed head. 

Corn silage season is starting now, and will be in full swing by the weekend. 

Rains have also provided a boost to livestock ranchers, where pasture regrowth is now keeping up to cattle grazing. Some producers are considering taking a second (or even first) cut alfalfa/grass hay, with crop regrowth reaching 10 to 20 inches. 

Overwinter feed supplies remain short; with approximately 55 to 60% of winter-feed supplies secured. Dugout water levels have recharged to a small extent with recent rains; new wells and dugouts are still being dug and developed. 

Improved soil surface moisture has seen farmers begin some limited fall tillage.

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