Manitoba harvest 95 per cent complete, soils remain dry

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for October 5

Southwest Region

Temperatures have been variable, with daytime highs ranging from 27 to 32 C. Overnight lows dropped to as low as 5.0 to -0.5 C, with no severe frost reports. Average daily temperatures range from 14 C to 16 C. Forecast looks promising for the remainder of harvest. Above normal temperatures are making harvest seamless, but some green patches are left in soybean fields. Soils are very dry in the area once again and combined with the winds and heat, dry crop residues and pastures are facing a very high fire risk.

Harvest continues; many report being done or close to complete, ranging from 85 to 95% complete. A week of good weather would wrap up most acres, including the majority of corn and some sunflowers as well. Good progress has been made on planned tillage operations, and surface ditching continues. Most areas are looking for rain – post-harvest – to benefit soil moisture levels for next year, and improve soil tillage condition. Fertilizer application has started. Lots of regrowth in canola and cereal fields.

Spring wheat harvest for many in the region is complete; overall progress is estimated at 95 to 100% done. Yields have generally been good; Straw has been baled immediately following cereal harvest; most bales have been picked up, allowing for fall tillage operations. Some post-harvest weed spraying is also occurring. Oats and barley harvest is complete. Some farmers are green feeding regrowth in oats which has headed out again.

Canola harvest is estimated at 95 to 100% complete. Yield reports range from 30 to 45 bu/ac; with average yields expected to be in the 35 to 40 bu range. Regrowth in standing canola and harvested stubble is abundant where desiccation did not occur. Flax harvest is estimated 70 to 80% complete, with yields ranging from 20 to 25 bu/acre. 

Soybean harvest progress is estimated at 85 to 90% complete, with most producers are wrapping up. Early yields reported in the 30 to 45 bu/ac range. Average is expected to end up between 32 to 37 bu/acre. 

Sunflowers are heading into R9 stage. Desiccated crops starting to be harvested. Yield is above average, perhaps the best yielding crop relative to normal over the whole year. Some blackbirds are damaging the crop and causing seed loss, but flocks are much smaller than normal years. 

Corn harvest has started. Many are commenting that grain moisture is the lowest they’ve seen for this time of year, approximately 20%. Minimal drying is required. Yields range from 110 bu/ac on dryland to 160 bu/ac irrigated. Overall yields are below average. 

Lots of straw has been baled as producers are trying to gather many different cattle feed sources. Second cut on alfalfa stands is underway. Dugouts are about 30 to 40% full. Cattle have been moved to fall grazing areas, but the lack of rain is starting to show on pasture growth once again. Alfalfa growth has stalled due to lack of moisture despite the nice weather. Pastures are dormant now, short, and lack any additional growth. Many creeks are dry or stagnant. Producers in the area say they have just enough feed or that it will be in tight supply.

Northwest Region

Continued warm, dry weather has helped harvest move towards completion. Minimal precipitation fell in the areas of Laurier and Ste. Rose, while the rest of the region saw no rain. Some areas experienced light frosts for a couple of mornings with Minitonas (-1.3 C) and Rorketon (-1.2 C) recorded. 

Post-harvest field work has been occurring in some areas of the region while some are holding off due to dry conditions. Post harvest weed control has also occurred where conditions and stages have allowed. No fall anhydrous ammonia applications have occurred as of yet due to recent warm temperatures. 

Field peas and spring wheat harvest is complete across the region. Some oats and barley remain standing and ready for harvest. 

Canola harvest is nearing completion with most of the region at 98% harvested. Most fields that are left standing have been later- seeded/germinated. Yields in the Swan Valley in poorer crops are approximately 15 to 25 bu/ac and better crops yielding 45 to 50 bu/ac; yields in Roblin approx. 35 bu/ac and Dauphin at 25 bu/ac and upwards to 55 bu/ac in better fields. 

Soybean harvest continues across the region and about 85 to 90% complete in the Swan Valley with yields of 25 to 40 bu/ac across the region. 

Some flax has been harvested in Roblin however some of the flax fields have started to flower again with previous rains. 

Producers who are contemplating taking a second cut but waiting for a killing frost in order to reduce the risk of winter kill, may be running out of favourable weather conditions to put up dry hay. It is anticipated that fields may be grazed instead if they are fenced and have sufficient water available. Grazing is occurring on annual crop regrowth such as canola fields and on ground where corn silage was harvested. Pastures have held out but are now going into dormancy with the cooler nights. Light frost has been reported in localized areas. Water supplies on pastures are poor and require a significant recharge for next season’s grazing. 

Central Region

Sunny, warm conditions most days from southerly winds are keeping daytime temperatures above normal reaching near-record highs with no frost. Those higher temperatures are encouraging good grain drying conditions and continued harvest progress. Rain on Thursday from a rain shower system brought precipitation mostly to the western side of the region with amounts ranging from 5mm or less for much of the region to 35 mm in Snowflake along the International border. Some smoky conditions later in the week and on the weekend from fires burning in Saskatchewan. Heavy to light dews arrived depending on the overnight temperatures and winds. Topsoil is drying without recent meaningful precipitation to most areas. Sloughs are drying down or are already dry indicating the low level of subsoil moisture. 

Without frost in the forecast, harvest is progressing, but many are hoping for a killing frost to dry down green corn stalk material and terminate green soybean patches and headlands. 

Field tillage continues to try and terminate volunteer grain growth, incorporate crop residue and soil applied herbicides in some cases. First pass cultivation on cereal stubble has been done on many fields, some have been tilled twice having abundant regrowth. Many farms are choosing to leave soil untilled to prevent moisture losses or are chem fallowing this fall. Soil sampling continues on harvested fields with elevated residual nitrogen reported in general. Soil temperatures are above 10 C and cooling slowly. Fall fertilization is starting as nitrogen application is preferred at cooler soil temperatures, but some farms are proceeding by looking at the calendar. Livestock manure application to fields is being done as harvest progresses. 

Last reseeded canola fields are harvested wrapping up canola harvest for this year. Flax harvest is wrapping up with only the odd field remaining. Flax straw is disposed of via burning. 

Corn harvest is underway having about 25% done as stands are maturing and drying. Earliest yield reports were below average in the Red River Valley in the 60 to 70 bu/ac range, while more recently harvested fields are yielding better reportedly in the 110 to 140 bu/ac range and grain moisture content between 22 to 26%. 

Sunflower harvest is underway. Yield reports range from 2,000 to 2,500 lbs/acre with some fields doing better. Soybeans harvest is wrapping up this week with about 97% done. Reported yields range from 30 to 40 bu/ac in areas with better moisture conditions during the season but only 12 to 15 bu/ac reported in the driest areas of the region. 

Dry edible bean harvest of early maturing types is considered done while the later maturing types should be wrapped up this week. 

Potato harvest progressed well with 90 to 95% of the crop harvested in the central and Winkler areas. Western region harvest progress is higher with over 95% complete and harvest expected to continue this week. Generally, there are reports of average to lower yields. 

Pastures have regrown to provide sufficient fall grazing but are slowing down and are almost finished due to dryness and the time of the year. The cattle roundup has begun this week on area community pastures and will ramp up next week. 

Annual crop regrowth is being cut for livestock feed or grazed. Producers are testing cereals and canola regrowth for nitrates as levels have been higher than normal due to elevated soil residual nitrogen. Corn silage harvest is underway with yields half to two-thirds of normal. Some grain corn is being harvested as silage. Second cut alfalfa has regrown and will be grazed or cut for hay close to a frost. Some third cut has already been baled. Extra straw and wild hay has been baled for livestock feed. 

Water availability is somewhat improved, but surface supply and quality is still low and will require recharging for next year. Many dugouts have been deepened to access more water. 

Eastern Region

Temperatures were above normal this past week, with enough wind most days for good crop drying. Rapid progress was made on soybean harvest. Sunflower and corn harvest also began. A significant amount of fieldwork and fertilizer application was completed as well. Higher than normal soil temperatures has delayed anhydrous ammonia applications and there is expected to be a rush on this work once soils cool down. Increasing numbers of farmers have completed their harvest for this year if they haven’t grown sunflowers or corn.

Canola harvest is essentially complete except for a very few remaining late-seeded fields. Canola yield reports range from 10 to 40 bu/ac with the average being around 20 to 25 bu/acre. 

Flax harvest and baling of straw has been completed with yields in the 20 bu/acre range.

Soybean harvest is about 85% done with yields ranging from 19 to 42 bu/acre with good quality. Average yield for the region will likely be between 30 to 35 bu/acre. A few soybean fields are still drying down. Rapid progress on remaining acres will occur this week if the weather cooperates. Producers pushing very hard on harvesting this crop as some rain is in the forecast. 

Sunflower harvest began last week with overall completion at about 40% with oil types about 60% done. Yields on oilseed types is ranging from 2500 to 3000 lbs/acre with good quality. Limited drying with some fields coming in dry. Confectionary sunflower harvest is just starting with no data to report at this time. Sunflower, corn and soybean harvests were overlapping for some producers. 

Grain corn crops have achieved black layer indicating physiological maturity and continue drying down rapidly. Grain corn harvest began last week with about 5% of acres taken off. Preliminary yield reports range from 100 to 120 bu/ac range with good bushel weight and quality but limited data so far. Kernel moistures in the 20 to 23% range. 

Second and third cut hay making continued for beef producers with a very wide range in progress and will be ongoing over the coming weeks. Corn silaging is about 90% done, with some fields still drying down to correct moisture content. Producers are also taking any opportunity to bale up any extra forage they can find near them. Producers are being very innovative in their effort to ensure they have sufficient feed supplies for the winter. 

Interlake Region

Favourable weather has allowed harvest to progress, with a large jump in soybean harvest completion. No hard frosts have meant that many cereal and canola stubble fields have green regrowth, competing for moisture and nutrients from the 2022 crop. 

Soil tests from the region are showing that nitrogen levels are often above 100 lbs/ac in the soil, but September rains have seemingly moved a good portion of those nitrates below the 6 inch depth mark. 

Regrowth on oat, barley, and wheat fields has warranted cutting as silage or greenfeed in many cases. Yellow canola fields are causing major problems trying to take the last of the canola crop off amongst green leaves and flowers, or even where desiccants were applied and crop has not died back. Some canola regrowth is being put to use as alternate cattle forage. 

Soybean harvest has advanced to 60% complete in the Arborg area, while 80% complete in the south Interlake. Yields range from 20 to 40 bu/ac, averaging close to the middle of that range. Growers are somewhat surprised by the better than expected soybean yields, and look to increase those acres for 2022. Some farms are concerned about growing soybeans on high residual nitrate ground, but many will proceed anyway. 

Messy fields with green regrowth are abundant in the Interlake, and fall fieldwork cleanup is underway, via grazing, baling regrowth, using high-speed tillage or incorporation. Forage seed crops are generally yielding about half of normal, while older stands are in poorer condition than recently renovated forages.

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