Accumulated moisture over the past week amounting to 1.5 to 10 mm as rain and snow. Areas to the south of Hwy #2 received the most snow. Overnight temperatures below zero, daytime highs reaching high teens. Average soil temperature 5 C.
Seeding of cereals and some peas has started south of Hwy #1, while areas to the north have just begun early last week. Cool temperatures and snow have slowed progress this week. Seeding estimated at 5 per cent. Overall seedbed conditions good, but moisture welcome.
Overwintering weeds emerging, but cool conditions have slowed growth. Producers that have seeded are looking at a pre-emergent burnoff application.
Fall seeded crops throughout the area appear to have wintered well. Fall Rye is looking good to excellent in most of fields, while winter wheat fields rated as good. Top dressing nitrogen to occur as soon as field conditions are passable.
Unharvested acres from 2018 being combined in pockets of the region.
Forages are slow to resume growth. Soil moisture is adequate to get forages started but soil moisture reserves are low and in need of spring precipitation.
Dugouts, streams and sloughs are low. Producers relying on surface water may need supplementation if weather does not improve. Producers are low on feed and some are producers are feeding on spring pasture.
The growing season looks normal for this time of year in the northwest region. Temperatures ranged from the high teens during the day dropping to well below freezing overnight. There were no precipitation events this past week. Soil moisture is generally adequate to normal, for this time of year, throughout the region. Field surfaces are drying off and there is good sub-surface moisture, with exceptions around Ste. Rose/Rorketon where dry conditions continue from last growing season.
With the exception of The Pas, field operations, including tillage, fertilizer and pre-seed herbicide applications, and seeding are underway throughout most of the region. There are some fields around Dauphin where some fall harvest cleanup is taking place.
Less than 5 per cent of seeding is complete; with the majority of seeded acres being spring wheat or field peas. Winter cereals have generally survived the winter with few issues and are in good condition. Weed growth, and insect activity is minimal to date.
Forages have just begun to green up but there is minimal growth thus far. Fertilizer application has started on hay and pasture land. Some producers in the eastern side of the region have turned cows out to pasture but supplemental feeding is required. Areas around Rorketon and east of Ste. Rose are dry with some dugout water levels reported at 50 per cent capacity in those areas.
Slow, gradual snowmelt has delayed beginning field operations in some areas. Seeding of cereal crops largely began the previous week and progressed until the weekend.
A low pressure system brought precipitation in the form of rain and snow that halted field operations. Most precipitation received in the southern and western part of the central region. Amounts ranged from zero to 4 mm rainfall, but the precipitation above the escarpment came mostly as snow. Accumulated snow amount ranged from 10 to 20 cm in that area.
Daytime temperatures were in the mid-teens with night temperatures have dipped below zero at night. Daytime sunny conditions help to warm and dry topsoil.
Cool air temperatures and more precipitation in the forecast this week may delay seeding operations until topsoil dries sufficiently. Fertilizer applications were progressing along with seeding. Seedbed conditions considered good at this time.
Good seeding progress made in the Red River valley, but just starting on escarpment where soil conditions were cooler and wetter to start.
Spring wheat reported to range from 5 to 15 per cent but varies widely across the region. Indications are of higher cereal acres planted this season.
Early potatoes being planted in the Morden, Portage and Carberry areas. Peas and some grain corn seeded have also gone in.
Winter wheat, fall rye and perennial ryegrass fields have started to regrow with fertilization mostly complete. Winter damage is light and crops seem to be recovering well. As a result very little reseeding of winter-killed fields is expected. Crop rated good to excellent.
Weed growth has been slow to date but is becoming more visible as the soils warm. Pre-seed burnoff treatments or cultivation have been minimal to date given the slow weed growth and dry topsoil conditions prior to the weekend precipitation. Tillage has been at a minimum to preserve topsoil moisture.
Hay and pasture are greening up slowly but will need more moisture and heat for optimal growth. Pasture turnout is still several weeks away. Regrowth is rated as fair; but ranges from poor to good. Topdress fertilizer applications made in alfalfa/hay fields that were dry enough.
Concerns exist surrounding adequate spring regrowth for early grazing before winter feedstocks run out. Spring runoff was very limited and many dugouts that were depleted last fall have not fully recharged.
A slow snowmelt this spring has helped to retain water on fields instead creating runoff. Precipitation across the region ranged from zero to 5 mm rainfall last week. The average soil temperature at seeding depth is 8 C. Soil temperatures on fields with heavier residue cover were lower.
Soil moisture conditions on cropland across the region rated as adequate to short. Soil moisture conditions on the majority of hay and pasture land were rated as adequate to short.
Seedbed soil moisture conditions are adequate for seeding at this point. Reports of fertilizer being applied this week as producers begin to prepare their land for spring planting. Seeding has begun with producers beginning with spring wheat.
Seeding was slowed with snow arriving on Sunday night and early in the week for most parts of the region, normal operations are expected to resume once favourable conditions return. Wheat acres are estimated to be 5 to 10 per cent complete.
Across the region, an estimated 5 to 10 per cent of winter wheat acres appear to be winterkilled. Stands continue to be assessed for damage.
April has seen very little precipitation throughout the region, resulting in dry pastures and hay land. Pasture seeding, fertilizing and manure application have starting this week and will continue if weather remains dry. Some producers are moving livestock out of winter corrals and onto bigger pastures and feeding. Livestock water availability is rated at 100 per cent adequate.
Field activity is just starting in the Interlake, with fertilizer being applied, and some seeding undertaken. Cooler temperatures have slowed the start of seeding for many, but will ramp up as soon as conditions allow.
Although temperatures rose into the high teens last week, cold conditions persisted through much of April, allowing for a slow gradual melt. Overnight temperatures continue to drop below freezing. Average temperatures for the previous week ranged from 4 to 6 C.
All areas of the region have received lower than normal precipitation over winter. With the slow melt, much of the moisture stayed on the fields, rather than being lost to runoff. Little if any water remains in ditches and drains. Precipitation has been minimal for most this past month.
Fertilizer is being applied to forages and annual cropland where field conditions allow, and in advance of the forecast rain. Seeding has started, although minimal to date. Soil moisture is currently adequate, but planned tillage is lower than normal, based on relatively drier conditions. Seed treating continues.
Peas and fababeans continue to go in, cereals are starting. Most field activity is occurring in the southern part of the region. Winter survival of perennial crops is good.
Pasture regrowth is slow; it will be some time before cattle are moved out to graze. Forage availability is a significant concern for those impacted most severely by dry conditions last year. Dugout levels are below normal.