Temperatures varied widely this past week, reaching nearly 30-degree daytime highs, with lows dipping to 0.8°C, but no reports of frost yet. Average daily temperatures range from 13°C to 15°C. Harvest continues; many producers are caught up on cereals and canola and are waiting for soybeans to be ready.
Harvest weather has been largely favourable, but some producers are concerned about elevated seed moisture in canola and soybeans harvested this week. Soybean harvest should ramp up towards the weekend. Great progress has been made on fall tillage, with the first pass complete on many acres.
Cereal harvest for many in the region is complete; overall progress is estimated at 90 to 95% done. Yields have generally been good; straw has been baled immediately following cereal harvest and bales have been picked up, allowing for fall tillage operations. Some post-harvest weed spraying is also occurring.
Canola harvest is estimated at 70 to 75% complete. Yield reports range from 30 to 45 bu/ac; with average yields expected to be in the 35 to 40 bu/ac range. Disappointing yields are reported where strong winds caused damage to both standing and swathed canola. Some of the reseeded and late-seeded canola is yielding better, especially with timely rains early on.
Flax harvest continues, with yields ranging from 20 to 25 bu/acre.
Most soybeans are at R7 to R8. Harvest has begun on early maturing varieties, and 30 to 35% harvest has been completed in southern parts of the region and 10 to 20% done in northern parts. Early yields were reported in the 30 to 40 bu/ac range. Harvest will become more general later in the week, dependent on weather conditions, and crop moisture levels. Some of the later maturing varieties have benefited from the late rains.
Most sunflowers are at R8 to R9. Blackbirds are flocking in the area, but feeding is light to variable. Grain corn is at R4 to R6 stage range. Leaves are starting to change colour with colder temperatures overnight.
Rains have improved some pastures, while others are still quite dry. New hay stands are reporting some near-average yields, while old stands are very poor. Well-fertilized fields have fared better. Forage shortages are expected, but supplies will be somewhat better than forecasted earlier in the season, depending on management. Annual crop silage has taken the pressure off for many producers. Livestock water supply is currently adequate; some dugout levels have improved with recent rains. Dugouts have filled to 50 to 60% of capacity.
Minimal to no precipitation this week allowed harvest to progress nicely across the Northwest Region. High temperatures along with strong winds over the weekend also helped crop dry down, however strong winds cause some canola swaths to blow over. With another week of no precipitation, soil moisture and water sources continue to be depleted. Some post-harvest fieldwork has been done following harvest but most are holding off due to dry conditions.
Spring cereals are 98% complete with some wheat and oats still standing. Spring cereals in The Pas are approximately 80% harvested with yields of 65 to 70 bu/acre. Yields in the rest of the region are lower, from 40 to 70 bu/acre.
Canola harvest continues across the region and nearing completion in the southern areas. Harvest progress is about 65% complete in The Pas with yields so far at 25 to 30 bu/ac in poorer fields and 45 bu/ac in better stands; harvest progress in the rest of the region is about 90% complete. Yields in the Swan Valley in poorer crops are approximately 15-25 bu/ac and better crops yielding 45 to 50 bu/ac; yields in Roblin approximately 35 bu/ac and Dauphin at 25 bu/ac and up to 55 bu/ac in better fields. Fields that remain standing are those that were later seeded/germinated or reseeded and/or experienced extra stress and are not quite ready to be harvested.
Soybeans are mostly in the R8 stage with some fields slightly behind. Harvest has begun in the Dauphin area and crops are still standing in the rest of the region for now. Flax is bolled out and continuing to maturity and remains standing at this point. Fababeans are also standing and continuing to maturity.
Pastures remain in good condition with herds still out grazing. Producers are still waiting for a killing frost to make a second cut of alfalfa, either mechanically or with grazing. Corn silage harvest is underway with variable yields being reported from 11 to 18 tonnes/acre. Producers continue to haul in bales and are actively sourcing feed to carry their herds through the winter months. More moisture is needed to replenish water supply levels for next year.
Sunny conditions most days to partly cloudy and rain showers Thursday this week. Precipitation received ranged from zero in the Gretna area to 8 mm near Starbuck stopping harvest for a day or two. Strong southerly winds Friday and weekend increased temperatures to above normal while providing strong drying conditions allowing for good harvest progress. Light to moderate dews most mornings. Topsoil remains moist.
Forecast this week is for mostly sunny conditions and above to near normal temperatures. No frost in the forecast but overnight lows are getting close to the freezing mark. Harvest operations should continue this week.
Winter cereal planting continues on suitable harvested fields. Earliest planted fields have emerged uniformly with the favourable topsoil moisture conditions. Winter wheat seed supply from dwindling interest over the past few years is a limiting factor for seeding this fall and some supplies are being sourced out-of- province. The price offering rather than seed supplies is limiting fall rye seeding. Most available cereal straw has been baled and removed from fields. Limited crop residue burning to date as most straw was spread or baled at harvest.
Field tillage is progressing to terminate volunteer grain growth and incorporate crop residue. Some post-harvest herbicide applications being done to control weed growth ahead of next year. Soil sampling continues on harvested fields with elevated residual nitrogen reported in general. Livestock manure application to fields is being done as harvest progressed.
Canola harvest progressed well during the week and weekend with mostly the odd field left to harvest. Harvest progress is estimated at 98% done, with reported yields ranging from 5 to 50 bu/acre. Harvested grain quality is good so far. Flax fields are ripe with good harvest progress achieved. Yield reports in the 15 to 28 bu/ac range. Harvest progress is estimated at 80 to 90% complete. Flax straw is being baled or burned.
Soybean harvest has started across the region as fields mature and dry down. About 13% of crops are harvested. Reported yields in the southeast corner of the region are better than expected, ranging from 30 to 40 bu/acre. Only 12 to 15 bu/ac reported in the driest areas of the Red River Valley. Green spots within fields are reported and appear to be related to moisture stress conditions experienced during the season followed by some regrowth.
Dry edible bean harvest about 30% done with 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 in full swing with about 35 to 40% of the crop harvested in the Carman and Winkler areas. Western district harvest progress is higher with about 50% complete and harvest expected to continue in the week ahead. Generally, there are reports of lower to average yields.
Sunflower stands are relatively short from the prolonged dry conditions. Flowering is complete with back of the heads yellow in the R8 stage, some sclerotinia head rot observed. Desiccation of mature fields has started on earlier maturing fields and more expected in the next week.
Corn seed filling has slowed as stands are maturing. Better growing and developed cornfields have reached the black layer stage and dented. Mature fields are drying down and visibly turning.
Corn silage harvest is underway with yields half to 65% of normal. Second cut alfalfa will be grazed or cut for hay later, close to a frost. Some third cut has been baled. Extra straw and wild hay has been baled for livestock feed. Canola regrowth is being considered for grazing or harvesting for livestock feed. Pastures have regrown to provide sufficient fall grazing but overall winter feed supplies will still be short. Water availability is better but surface supply and quality is still low and will require recharging for next year.
Rainfall accumulation across the region over the reporting period ranged from 3 to 11 mm at the weather stations. Rainfall accumulation came as scattered showers and intermittent rain with most of that occurring last Thursday. Temperatures began the reporting period ranging from seasonal to below seasonal and then warmed to above seasonal over the weekend before cooling off to seasonal temperatures at the start of this week. Despite the occasional rain and showers, good progress continued with harvesting, fieldwork and the seeding of winter cereals. Warm days often included strong winds that sped crop dry down. Many producers are caught up or close to caught up and anticipate moving into their soybeans.
Canola harvest progressed with about 90 to 95% of the harvest complete. Canola yield reports range from 10 to 40 bu/ac with the average being around 20 to 25 bu/acre. Canola is yielding better than expected however; expectations were low due to the growing season’s moisture deficient.
Flax harvest continued with an estimated 80% of acres complete.
Yields in the 20 bu/ac range have been reported. Below average yield expected given how poorly the crop handled drought stress. Baling of flax straw is ongoing.
Soybean fields are at the R8 stage (95% brown pod) and drying down rapidly. Harvesting could become more general by the end of the week if the weather cooperates. Very limited acres harvested so far, yield estimates will follow in the coming weeks. Some producers are desiccating some of their soybean crops to push harvest along.
Sunflower, majority of fields are in theR9stage. Desiccation is almost done with the final fields being sprayed this week. Sunflower and soybean harvest may end up overlapping this year.
Corn crops are at or close to black layer and drying down. Corn vegetation also continued to dry down and 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, 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. Corn silaging is about 60% done and will wrap up by next week.
Insufficient data from the Interlake region over the reporting period has limited crop reporting for this week.