Manitoba crops seeing weather stress, alfalfa weevils causing forage yield losses

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for June 22

Southwest Region

Temperatures became more seasonal last week, ranging from 20 to 30 C during the day, with overnight temperatures in most areas of 6 to 11 C. Crop growth has improved with previous weeks’ moisture, but the heat wave in past week stressed many crops. Neepawa area received 6 to 8 mm rain; all other areas of the region only had scattered showers without any significant accumulation of moisture. Good moisture from the previous week gave crops a very good boost but wind and heat made evapotranspiration losses extremely high. Any precipitation is welcome and all areas, particularly the north and southwest corner of the region, are short for moisture. Growing degree-days and corn heat units are nearing normal for this time of the year; precipitation is slightly below normal in most of the areas but majority of the moisture came in short period of time. More timely precipitation will be needed for full yield potential from all crops. 

Topsoil moisture is currently adequate for 70 per cent of the crops and short to very short for the remaining acres. Crops are generally shorter than normal, and majority of crops have suffered from dry and hot conditions, sometimes wind and in many cases, insect pressure. Peas and flax are bright spots with fairly even stands and are progressing well. Flax looks very good; most fields are even, 12 to 15 cm in height. Peas are shorter than normal and have reached 12th node stage. Flowering will begin soon. 

Canola is starting to fill in and in starting to bolt. Stands are on thin side. Overall crop is very stagey. There are multiple growth stages with in the field due to moisture conditions. 

Soybeans are unifoliate to first trifoliate, and up to second trifoliate in the most advanced fields. Crop is benefitting from warmer temperatures and growing quickly. Most corn, both grain and silage has improved in both height and colour. Majority of fields are at V6. Sunflower is at V5 to V6, performing better than less drought-tolerant crops. Early seeded spring cereal crops are entering flag leaf stage and many are starting to head. Later seeded cereals are three to four leaf stage. Winter cereals are heading and some fields had a fungicide spray to protect from fusarium head blight. 

Herbicide spraying continues; and most fields have seen a first pass, except reseeded acres. Second pass applications continue in canola, soybeans and corn. Wind is causing some issues in herbicide spraying, with a few drift complaints. 

Flea beetle pressure, particularly striped flea beetles, is starting to taper off. Canola is finally growing beyond the susceptible stage. Cutworm damage is starting to slow. Diamondback moth numbers are still relatively low. Bertha armyworm counts are low as well. 

Forage yields are expected to be below than normal. Very few producers completed the first cut of hay. Most of alfalfa fields are close to flowering. Pasture growth is slow due to dry weather conditions but last week rain helped to grow faster. More rains will be needed soon to continuous growth. Dugout levels are variable. Some are 70 per cent of the capacity and others are less than 50 per cent. Concerns are growing for continuous water supply.

Northwest Region 

There were scattered isolated showers through the Northwest region last week. With the exception of the Grandview area, where 10mm fell, there were no significant accumulations. Daytime temperatures hit 30 C. Nighttime temperatures were cool and dropped to single digits. Strong winds continued to be an issue through the week, causing stress and damage to crops, blowing seed and fertilizer in reseeded crops and posing challenges to pesticide applications. Some yellowing is noticeable in wheat fields where high precipitation amounts fell a week ago. Soil moisture conditions have improved somewhat although dry conditions are still a concern. 

Spring cereals across the region are moving in to the stem elongation stage, leafing out and the rows are closing. Cereals are generally, in good to excellent condition as they have been better able to withstand the challenging spring conditions. There are some wheat fields in the Dauphin area yellowing from excess moisture due to high rainfall amounts the previous week. 

Winter wheat and fall rye are heading out in the Roblin area. Field peas are continuing in the vegetative growth, with some scattered flowering. Peas are, overall, in good condition. 

Canola across the region is in various stages and generally is in poor to good condition as it is showing the effects of insect feeding, dry conditions, frost and wind. Most of the canola is in the rosette stage except where reseeded or due to late emergence because of dry conditions. Flea beetles and cutworms continue to be a problem, with reseeding and multiple insecticide applications taking place. 

Soybeans in the region are in the vegetative stage. The recent moisture and warm temperatures has pushed growth along nicely. Herbicide applications continue as stages are reached and conditions allow. The continuous strong winds and intermittent showers across the region have made spraying a challenge. 

Pheromone-baited traps for diamondback moth and Bertha armyworm monitoring continue across the region. There are some diamondback moths showing up in traps with the highest cumulative trap counts around The Pas and Bowsman. Bertha armyworm moth counts remain low for the start of the trapping period. Flea beetles continue to be an issue in canola; windy conditions have moved their feeding down to the canola stems. Feeding damage resulted in reseeding activity throughout the region. 

Pasture production would benefit from additional moisture and heat. Cooler nighttime temperatures the last few nights has stalled growth. Hay fields are advancing with grasses heading out and newer, fertilized alfalfa stands in the bud stage. Water supplies remain low on pasture for this time of year and some producers have cleaned out and deepened dugouts. Grasshoppers have been observed throughout the area. 

Central Region

Early week sunny warm conditions changed to cloudy and below normal temperatures triggering some thundershower activity on Wednesday that brought low amounts of precipitation. Westerly winds prevailed early in the week shifting to the south and then north cooling temperatures to below normal to as low as 5 C overnight. Accumulated precipitation was light varying from zero to 13 mm in St- Claude. The previous week’s heavy rains have infiltrated soils very well and low lying areas that pooled water have now absorbed the excess. Topsoil moisture is poor to good, depending on soil texture and where rain accumulation was highest. Additional rainfall would be welcome, as crops are growing faster and evapotranspiration is increasing. Sunny and warming temperatures are in the forecast this week, which should stimulate crop and forage growth. 

Winter cereals and perennial ryegrass fields are growing well as temperatures have warmed and soil moisture improved to support growth. Fall rye fields are almost done flowering, winter wheat is starting to flower. Some reports of rye heads filling poorly due to high temperatures at the start of flowering, a number of winter cereals have been taken off early as greenfeed where yield potential was poor. 

Wheat, oats and barley are rapidly advancing, but stagey in fields that had poor emergence due to poor topsoil moisture at seeding. Cereal development stage varies from 4- leaf to stem elongation to heading out. Herbicide applications are mostly wrapped up in cereals. Corn is growing well with 2 to 5 leaves (collar method, V2-V5) developed. Field peas are growing well and development ranges from 6th node to early flowering. 

Canola fields that struggled with emergence due to poor topsoil moisture, flea beetle feeding, and surface soil crusting from heavy rains is now wrapped up. Later seeded canola fields are starting to emerge. Canola staging varies from recently planted to early flowering in the most advanced fields. Flax is growing well in the 7 to 12 cm high. Sunflowers are growing well at about V6 to V10. Soybean fields have emerged but some variability reported in areas with poor moisture conditions at seeding time. Iron deficiency chlorosis is starting to show up in some fields. Stage varies from unifoliate for latest planted fields to third trifoliate. Herbicide applications are well underway on soybean fields. Dry bean emergence is fairly uniform and fields that suffered sandblasting damage from earlier strong winds are recovering. 

Symptoms of herbicide residue carryover are showing up in a number of crops. Overall seeding in the region is considered done, except for some later planted greenfeed. Weed growth was stimulated with the warmer temperatures and improved soil moisture. In-crop herbicide applications are progressing as conditions allow but have been challenging with the strong winds and large temperature variations. 

Potato growth appears good in many early-planted fields, having up to 50 per cent ground cover. Hilling and weed control operations are almost done. Colorado potato beetle activity is being noticed in some fields. 

Pheromone-baited traps for diamondback moth, a potential canola pest, have been removed and cumulated trap counts are generally low in the region. True armyworm, a potential cereal pest, traps remain in place with low cumulated counts in the region so far. Bertha armyworm traps are now set up to monitor the emergence of this potential canola pest over the next few weeks. Flea beetle feeding activity on canola is slowing and control measures are applied where needed. Grasshoppers are a concern in hay and pasture and producers are preparing to apply control measures while at an early development stage. 

Pasture water supplies partially recharged with the previous rains but are still below normal or below desired levels. Producers are interested in cleaning out existing dugouts, constructing new ones or drilling new wells. Cattle on pasture have adequate forage for grazing as we are in the time of year when forage production peaks. Hay and pasture growth improved after the rainfall but more is needed to sustain growth. The younger, better-fertilized alfalfa fields are up to 30 inches (76 cm) in height, flowering and grasses are headed out. Hay yields in drier regions will be below normal. Grasshoppers are a concern in hay and pastures and producers are preparing to control them while the insects are at an early development stage. 

Eastern Region

Rainfall recorded at the Eastern weather stations ranged from zero to 4 mm across the region. The weather over the last week was highly variable and unsettled both on the rainfall and temperature front. Reporting period started out well above normal for day and nighttime temperatures and then transitioned to below normal with overnight lows down to 7 C. Wind was variable and unpredictable with calm mornings sometimes transitioning into very windy days that prevented pesticide applications. 

Winter wheat and fall rye are flowering. Spring cereals are at the stem elongation to early head emergence. Corn is at the V4 to V6 stage. Field pea crops are at the 9th node to early flowering stage. Sunflowers are at V6 to V8 stage. 

Canola is at the 1- to 3-leaf stage on reseeded acres and at the rosette stage to early bolt on original seeded acres. Flax is at the stem extension stage. Soybean is at the cotyledon to unifoliate to first trifoliate on reseed acres and third to fourth trifoliate leaf stage on original crop. 

Good herbicide spraying progress was made during the reporting period even with challenging winds. Some aerial application being used to move things along. Farmer focus was on canola and soybeans, especially applying Liberty herbicide on canola. All other crops are done in terms of herbicides with most now grown past the safe herbicide application stage. Overall weed control has been good. Herbicide damage symptoms from previous spraying during hot conditions were quickly fading. Producers continue to work towards finishing canola spraying, but significant reseeded acres will drag that out almost to the end of the month. Soybean first pass almost done and second pass proceeding. 

Flea beetles still being monitored on reseeded canola and some spraying was still going on during the reporting period. Many consider this year to be the worst for flea beetles they have experienced. However, concerns are now subsiding as the crop advances. Non-reseeded crop is past the point of having flea beetle challenges. 

Fungicide applications have just begun with flag leaf protection in oats being what producers are focusing on first. Scouting to stage spring wheat for FHB timing fungicide likely to begin by Friday of this week given that heads on the April seeded crop are starting to emerge. Producers are transitioning straight into fungicide applications from herbicide applications but are expecting more widespread fungicide work next week. Those who seeded cereals early this year because of April/early May weather conditions are the ones paying most attention to fungicides right now. 

Many soybeans have yellowed as expected for this time of year. Causes are a mix of IDC and nitrogen starvation as the plants begin nodulation process. Determining cause of yellowing a bit difficult right now as well as how severe situation will be. Farmers continue to monitor. Some fields are greening up already while others are just starting to flash yellow. 

In southern parts of the region, first- cut alfalfa is variable. Some producers are reporting 90 per cent of normal yields down to 60 per cent in areas that had a significant moisture deficit. Younger stands appear to have overwintered really well and produced better than expected. Older stands (3 to 5 years) have had some overwinter kill in past years so plant populations are down but with advanced root structures they preformed somewhat better due to moisture accessibility. Beef producers are also well into first cut and some are reporting very poor yields (50 to 70 per cent of normal) due to lack of moisture. Few acres of native and tame grass stands have been cut, however they seem to be faring the worst at this point. 

In northern parts of the region, alfalfa weevil damage showed up extensively and likely lowered hay yields by at least 10 per cent. Dairy hay first cut is about 95 per cent done. Dairy producers moved quickly because of yield losses due to the weevil and most elected to harvest first cut and maintain quality rather than apply insecticides. Insecticide options that allowed the earliest harvest interval to haying were seen as an expensive option by most dairy hay growers. Dairy hay first cut around 60 per cent of normal with good quality. Beef hay about 10 per cent cut and 5 per cent baled but wide variety amongst producers. Some done or almost done while others not started. Grasses are heading with the result being that both tonnage and quality are going down. Yields are 60 per cent of normal. Quality seen as fair to average. Everyone hoping to make up lowered yields in second cut. Pastures have shown no further improvement and carrying capacity is likely starting to go down, particularly in pastures that were overgrazed in past years. Dugouts are empty or close to empty. Quality of that dugout water has also deteriorated. Most producers up here water from wells or fill dugouts from wells so dugouts condition are not a good indicator of available water supply. Producers both beef and dairy remain concerned about feed supplies going forward. Increased rainfall over the coming weeks will be very important if improvements in the situation are to be seen. Livestock water availability is rated as adequate. 

Interlake Region

Limited crop report data available for the Interlake region for the week of June 16 to 22. 

Most seeding is complete, while some late-seeded greenfeed crops still going in. Cereals are handling drought conditions better than canola, which is struggling to send roots down to reach deep soil moisture. Post-emergent herbicide application is about 75 per cent complete. Zero-till and minimum disturbance seeded crops are in noticeably better condition. 

Alfalfa weevil is causing significant damage in some areas; some insecticide spraying is occurring. Grasshoppers are hatching in hay, pastures, and roadsides, with some farmers choosing to spray whole fields or just the margins. Both ground and aerial applicators spraying for grasshoppers. 

Wells for livestock water are being drilled in the north Interlake, where dugouts in pastures have run dry. Rain is needed imminently for forage growth; livestock producers are facing feed and pasture shortages in the northern parts of the Interlake, particularly on poorer soils.

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