Manitoba harvest passes halfway mark, yields see broad range

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for September 15

Southwest Region

Mostly dry weather allowed farmers to continue harvest this week. Temperatures were variable, with cool and frosty nights throughout the week, reaching double-digit daytime highs. Smoke coming from west has developed into a haze over the entire region in the past three days, causing a slowdown in harvest in some areas. Overall rainfall was variable this summer, showing its effects, as most forages and pastures struggled to put on good growth. Last week’s frost also had an adverse effect on longer season crops, hay, and pastures. Excessive rainfall events in July contributed to localized areas where percentage of normal rainfall accumulation was over 100% of the 30-year average, notably at Rivers, Oakburn, Forrest, Newdale and Brandon. The rest of the Southwest was largely drier than normal to date.

Overall harvest is 35 to 40% complete. Canola is mostly swathed and or ready to harvest. Harvest is 25 to 30% complete in general. Yields are modest at 40 to 50 bu/ac and quality is good. Some late seeded canola fields are also being swathed after the frost event.

Spring Wheat is 70 to 75% harvested in the region. Majority of the harvest done in southern parts of the region. North of PTH 16, fields are 50% done at this time. Yield and quality is depending on the variety and BMPs. Some of the fields are coming out with excellent yield and some fields are at average. Quality is overall good to excellent this year with minimal fusarium issues.

Barley is 90 to 95% complete. Yield is above average. Oats are 85 to 90% done. Fields left out are suffering badly from wind damage and lodging.

Many soybean fields were at R6.5- R7 stage when frost hit last week. One night of severe frost left top pods frozen and leaves turning crispy. There are some reports of harvesting in soybeans in early maturing varieties, but no yield reports yet. Early season growth and timely rains this year helped soybean and producers are hopeful that the number of mature pods will compensate the yield loss due to frost.

Corn is nearing dent stage R5. Frost damage is visible on the plants, as leaves are drying rapidly, which has forced cattle farmers to shift to silage making. Sunflowers are at R8. Leaves are wilting after frost. There are some reports of Verticillium wilt in sunflower in southwestern areas. Grasshoppers are still active in pastures and ditches as well.

Frost last week has producers doing the last cut of alfalfa for the year. Producers have been able to cut more slough hay. Corn silage is drying down after frost. Pastures are starting to dry down. Some producers have started to move cattle to fall grazing. Producers are baling straw. Water in dugouts is still adequate but some areas in southwest corner are reporting short water supplies due to lack of rain in those areas. Frost caused corn to burn back and silage is coming in at 45-55% moisture, below ideal harvest values.

Some winter cereals have been seeded, mostly into cereal stubble.

Northwest Region

A cool start to the week followed by warm dry conditions allowed for good harvest progress in the Northwest Region. While overnight temperatures dipped below zero, resulting in heavy morning dew, daytime temperatures reached 25 C. There were strong winds over the weekend that helped with drying down the crop. Rain was limited to scattered intermittent showers that did not result in significant precipitation. The effects of frost last weekend were patchy with some areas impacted more than others; the soybeans were the most affected.

Cereals are generally ripe and ready for harvest when moisture and weather permit. Approximately 75% of spring cereals are harvested. Spring wheat harvest is nearly complete around Roblin, approximately 70% complete around Swan River and 40 to 50% at The Pas. Reported spring wheat yields range from 90 bu/ac down to 60 bu/acre. Upwards of 80% of the barley is harvested around Swan River. Swathing of oats is underway with 50% harvested around Swan River and the remainder requiring further ripening before combining can take place.

The canola is drying well, roughly 30% of the crop is harvested at Roblin, and 10% combined at Swan River. About 30% of the canola crop is still in the swath, 40 to 60% is standing and close to ready for straight combining. The staginess through the growing season has affected canola quality and yields, which range from 40 to 60 bu/acre.

Field pea harvest is complete in the region and the straw is baled. Fieldwork on harvested fields is well underway. Soybeans were frost-damaged last weekend. For locally appropriate varieties, the plants were drying down, with most leaves withered and dropped off; pods are drying. All soybean and lentil crops remain standing.

Baling of cereal straw is on going with the good harvest progress made this week. Second cut alfalfa hay can be safely harvested in areas that have received a killing frost. Late seeded greenfeed crops are being cut and nitrate analysis should be completed if frost has occurred. Corn silage harvest has not begun and moisture tests should be completed on frosted corn to determine the correct stage and moisture to harvest. Pasture growth has slowed and over all pastures are in fair-good condition. Livestock water supply is adequate.

Central Region

Overnight Tuesday, frost hit for a second consecutive morning affecting most of the region but particularly the west and southern portions. Coldest location reported was in Clearwater at -4 C. Sunny conditions for most of the week allowed for good harvest progress. Winds were moderate this week allowing for long harvest days. Topsoil is dry causing winter cereal growers to reconsider planting.

Wheat harvest is mostly complete in the Red River Valley and north of the TransCanada highway. West of the escarpment, wheat harvest is progressing with about 80 to 90% done. Yields reported Yields range from 60 to 100 bu/ac with grain quality in the top two grades mainly. Lower yields reported in the Southeast corner of the region where heavy mid summer rains caused drowning to portions of fields. Most barley fields are harvested with reported yields ranging from 70 to 120 bu/ac and good quality. Most oat fields are harvested with reported yields from 95 to 170 bu/ac, averaging 140 bu/acre, with good bushel weight. For many, harvest is caught up to late maturing crops. Harvest of later planted cereals and oilseeds continues west of the escarpment where remaining fields are mature and ready to be combined. Straw is being harvested on many harvested cereal grain fields.

Many corn fields over the escarpment were touched by the frost and burned tissue is drying down prematurely, possibly causing lighter bushel weight to harvested grain. Most cornfields are in the dent (R5) stage. Planting of winter cereals started but intentions are held back from dry topsoil conditions. Fieldwork is occurring as crops are harvested. Soil sampling and testing is ongoing. Manure is being applied to fields from intensive livestock operations having suitable field conditions.

Canola harvest is over 75% done, except west of the escarpment where seeding was delayed and conditions cooler. Strong winds the week before caused swathed canola to turn and in some cases roll into piles. Canola yields reported range from 40 to 50 bu/ac yields or in the average range with good quality grain. Flax harvest started with good early yield reports in the 35 to 45 bu/ac range. The flax crop looks good and standing up well. Industrial hemp harvest started, buckwheat fields are swathed. Sunflowers are progressing into the R7 to R8 stage as plants mature.

Soybean fields in the western part of the regions suffered from the frosts and immature tissue touched is drying down prematurely. Many fields east of the escarpment were spared by the frost and more mature showing normal ripening progress. Many fields are in the beginning maturity (R7) stage to full maturity (R8). Some soybean field have been harvested but most are still not ready. Edible beans harvest is progressing well with about 30 to 40% done in the Red River Valley.

No late blight in potatoes was seen or reported in Manitoba or any of the neighbouring regions. Frost last Monday and Tuesday affected quite a few fields in western Manitoba. Harvesting is in full swing but production appears to be lower. Conditions for harvesting are good.

Producers need to be cautious cutting alfalfa during the critical fall period which is 3 to 4 weeks prior to a killing frost as winter injury can occur. Frost has producers concerned over nitrates in their uncut green feed. Wild hay, cereal green feed and silage harvest is mostly complete. Corn silage harvest will soon begin.

Forage growth is limited as the growing season winds down and pastures will deteriorate further. Water sources on pasture are adequate but some are getting low. Pasture conditions are variable depending on stocking rates, rainfall and soil type. Pasture growth is slowing and are grazed down where rainfall was lacking for optimal regrowth. Some pastures are running out of grass and would benefit from a rain. Cattle grazing stubble and second cut on hayfields to extend the grazing season are doing well.

Eastern Region

Significant progress was made on harvest this past week, though some areas saw producers waiting for crops to dry down to appropriate moisture. Temperatures rose from below seasonal to seasonal last week but fell over the weekend. Light to moderate frosts were experienced across the region with

the coldest temperatures occurring on Monday morning. Lows reported ranged from -1 C to -4 C with frost events lasting from two to six hours. Leaf damage on long season crops was observed in many fields but most crops were expected to be advanced enough so that damage to crop yield or quality was limited overall. Assessments on a field-by- field basis continues. Fall tillage also continued over the last week whenever field conditions allowed.

Across the Eastern Region, overall harvest completion was estimated at 50%. Spring wheat harvest was about 90% complete. Yield reports ranged from 55 to 70 bu/acre. Quality ranged from No 1 to 2 with past rainfall causing some bleaching. Protein levels were variable from field to field ranging from under 11% to 15%. Oats harvest was about 95% complete with yield reports ranging from 100 to 130 bu/acre with good quality. Variability in bushel weights on a field-by-field basis was noted.

Canola harvest across the region was about 75% complete with significant progress expected this week if weather allows. The extent of reseeded/late seeded canola that occurred this spring, particularly in northern districts, will result in canola harvest dragging on longer this fall. Canola yield reports continued to range from 25 to 50 bu/ac with good quality. Producers continue to be disappointed with canola yields on some of their fields. Average canola yield across the Eastern region is estimated as below 35 bu/ac at this time.

Most soybeans were in the mid to late R7 growth stage. A few fields seeded to very early maturing soybean varieties for the purposes of seed production have been harvested. Corn was in the dent growth stage with many fields approaching black layer (physiological maturity). Some concerns about the recent light frosts affecting bushel weight have been noted and fields continue to be monitored. Sunflower fields were somewhere in the R8 growth stage with producers making plans for crop desiccation later this month unless a severe enough killing frost occurs.

Across the Eastern Region, second cut beef hay was about 90% complete with yields ranging from 50% below average to average with good quality. Third cut alfalfa dairy hay harvest was almost complete. Pasture conditions ranged from fair to good but conditions were noted as declining with beef producers anticipating the need to start feeding on pasture and separating calves from herds in the coming weeks. Producers remained concerned about feed supplies for overwintering, making arrangements with grain producers to purchase straw. Baling and hauling of straw was ongoing. Livestock water supply was rated as adequate.

Interlake Region

Harvest continues, with good progress in a week with trace rainfall. Heavy dews continue to limit the daily harvest hours, but good winds have helped reduce impact. Many are focusing on fall tillage while waiting for soybean harvest to start.

Temperatures have settled into daytime highs in the high teens to low 20s. Overnight lows dipped to 0 C, with scattered reports of frost injury. Average daily temperatures range from 9 C to 10 C.

Although conditions have improved, much of the region continues to register less than 80% of normal rainfall amounts, with minimal precipitation falling in the key times of growth. Crop yields are variable; higher yields are the result of an earlier extra rain or two. Yields have a broad range, but have often been better than rainfall amounts would indicate. Lighter textured soils were most affected.

Cereal harvest for many in the region is complete; overall progress is estimated at 90+% done. Some reports of strong winds significantly affecting yields of later seeded cereals. Barley yields to date range from 60 to 110 bu/ac. Spring wheat yields are reported in the 45 to 95 bu/ac range, with average yield currently estimated at 55 to 65 bu/ac. Quality is good. Some bleaching following rains. Proteins range from 12.5 to 14.5%, dependent on yield. Oat yields reported at 90 to 130 bu/ac, with some as high as 150 to 160 bu/ac. Weights are adequate.

Straw has been baled immediately following cereal harvest; yield is better than recent years. Most have been picked up, allowing for fall tillage operations. Some post- harvest weed spraying is also occurring.

Canola harvest is estimated at 65 to 80% complete. Early yield reports range from 25 to 50 bu/ac; with average yields expected to be in the 35 to 45 bu range. Disappointing yields are reported where strong winds caused damage to both standing and swathed canola.

Flax harvest continues, with early yield reports of 20 to 25 bu/acre.

Most soybeans are at R7 to R8. Harvest has begun, with early season varieties being taken off, particularly in the driest areas and on lighter textured soils. Early yields reported in the 30 to 35 bu/ac range. Most expect to start harvest in the next week to 10 days. Some scattered reports of frost damage, mostly on longer season varieties that were still quite green. Frost damage reported on edible beans.

Most sunflowers are at R7 to R9. Desiccation applications will start within the next week to 10 days.

Corn silage chopping has started. Yields are variable, dependent on rainfall amounts through the growing season. Early reports of 10 to 15 MT/acre. Grain corn is at R4 to R5.

Fall rye and winter wheat are being seeded. Earlier seeded fields have germinated and plants are poking through.

Most greenfeed has been taken off. Yields are good, and will help to supplement alfalfa and grass hay supplies. Timely rains in some areas of the northeastern and southwestern parts of the region have resulted in very good hay yields. Winterkill last year has made producers more hesitant to cut at this time of year.

Rains have improved some pastures, while others are still quite dry. Cumulative effects of successive dry years are taking a toll. Hay yields have been better than last year; new stands are reporting some near average yields, while old stands are very poor. In general, yields are better than last year, but below average. Well-fertilized fields have fared better. Forage shortages are expected, but supplies will be somewhat better than expected earlier in the season. Annual crop silage has taken then pressure off for many producers. Livestock water supply is currently adequate; some dugout levels have improved with recent rains, while others are reported as getting low.

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