Soil moisture continues to decline, crop, pasture conditions further deteriorate

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for July 13

Southwest Region

Another hot and dry week in the southwest with no significant moisture. Showers were recorded in some areas, with Virden and Boissevain receiving 12 to 14 mm of rain. Highs for daytime temperatures ranged from 30 to close to 33 C this past week. Minimum overnight temperatures ranged from 4 to 8 C, with average temperatures of 15 to 19 C. Any precipitation is welcome and all areas of the region remain short for moisture. Rainfall in some areas has been very beneficial, but regular rains will be necessary to take crops to harvest. Growing degree days and corn heat units are close to normal. Precipitation continues to be normal to below normal. Topsoil moisture is currently short to very short for most of the region. 

All crops are shorter than normal. Stands are poor in areas of lowest rainfall. 

Peas and flax have fairly even stands and are progressing well. Any fungicide treatments planned have been made. Flax is flowering and bolls have formed. Most fields are on the short side. 

Peas also shorter than normal, and in full flower/podding. 

Sunflowers are growing well, and buds are forming. Sunflowers are handling the dry conditions well. Flowering in canola is on the decline, pods are forming. Flowering period has been on the shorter side; some fields were starting to shut down. Stands are on the thin side, and in some cases very stagey. There are some reports of aborted pods due to heat. Fungicide applications complete. 

Soybeans are at R1 to R3. Crops look fair and are in need of rain. Leaf flipping is occurring on many acres. Some late weed growth in areas where the stands are thin. Nodulation is generally reported as good. 

Corn is in the pre-tassel stage perhaps V7, some tassels starting to show. Crop is dark green, weathering drought fairly well, however light sandy soils without rainfall are showing severe signs of stress. Moisture needs will be high for corn in the next week. 

Cereals have rapidly advanced; most are in the milk stage, with winter wheat in to early soft dough. Fungicide applications for fusarium head blight are complete; with fewer acres than normal treated. Premature heading due to dry conditions has been seen in some areas, particularly on late seeded cereals. Some nutrient deficiency is also visible in cereals this year. Fall rye is starting to turn; and winter wheat is seeing some colour change. The earliest seeded spring wheat is close behind. Crops have dried out on sandy ridges, evident in cereals and canola. 

First cut haying is underway and yields are average to below average. Very poor growth on second cut. Pastures are doing fair in locations that are rotationally grazed showing that long dense grass has retained root depths able to access deep moisture. Feed supplies in these pastures are 

fair. Those that are overgrazed are poor and short and turning dormant. Dugouts are starting to dry out in some areas and producers are hauling water or looking to pump from other locations. 

Northwest Region

A cooler start to the week followed by intense heat for a number of days continued to cause crop stress and deplete soil moisture throughout the Northwest Region. Temperatures reached the mid 30’s for multiple days last week. These high temperatures are advancing the crop quickly. The effects of the continued dry conditions and intense heat is readily apparent in fields throughout the northwest region; bare patches, stunted growth and generally poor conditions are evident in fields. A storm moved through the region Sunday/Monday that resulted in 5- 18mm of precipitation in the Swan River and The Pas areas; this helped ease conditions somewhat in those locations. The storm also brought strong winds that caused some lodging in cereals. The accumulated rainfall as a percent of long-term normal is lowest in areas around Dauphin/Ste. Rose in the southeastern parts of the region. Soil moisture is rated as 75% in the categories of short/very short especially on lighter soils. 

Spring cereals across the region are heading out with 75% in the milk stage. Cereals are still rated at 70% in good condition, as they have been better able to withstand the challenging conditions. Yield potential of the cereal crop is still positive. Winter wheat and fall rye are turning in the Roblin and Dauphin areas. 

Canola across the region is very variable with about 50% of the canola crop in the region rated as good with the remainder in fair to poor condition. The canola is patchy, shorter than normal, stagey and many fields have bare spots. These effects are the result of dry conditions, insect feeding, spring frost and wind. The majority of the canola is flowering with some of the later seeded or reseeded crops still bolting. The hot weather has resulted in some flower abortion in canola. The peas are still flowering and starting to pod and fill; the soybeans are flowering. 

Some fungicide applications are taking place as the correct stages are reached and conditions allow. Bertha Armyworm monitoring continues across the region. The moths are starting show up in some traps, however; cumulative trap count numbers remain in the low risk category. Grasshopper activity has been increasing in the area, especially in pastures and hayfields. Where these fields have been hayed or sprayed, grasshoppers are moving into crops and some control has been required in crops. Although the hot temperatures and dry conditions have allowed producers to make good progress on haying, hay fields, annual forages and pastures are suffering. Pasture, native hay, and late seeded greenfeed appear to be the hardest hit by the moisture shortage. 

Hay yields are variable with early reports indicating below normal production at 1/3 to 2/3 of normal. Green feed harvest has begun around Dauphin with lower yields expected as well. 

Grasshoppers remain an issue particularly in the Winnipegosis/Sifton/Fork River areas where producers have had to spray several times. Water supply continues to be a concern with dugouts at 50% of normal or less. Producers are anxious about securing enough winter feed supply and actively seeking straw to be baled. 

Central Region

Sunny warm conditions prevailed for the week with no meaningful rain received except for isolated showers, leaving most of the region without any rainfall. Baldur recorded the most rain with 5 mm this week. Temperatures were cool at the start of the week gradually warming up to mid-thirties daytime high by the weekend. Nighttime temperatures were generally cool and dipped as low as 4 C on Wednesday morning west of the escarpment, wind speeds were moderate throughout. 

Topsoil moisture is very poor to fair and declining as crops continue to extract whatever available moisture remains. Rain is needed to replenish soil moisture in all areas of the region as crops and forage evapotranspiration continues. Damage is already done for many crops in the region. Sunny, warming temperatures are in the forecast this week, which should continue to stress crops and forage stands. 

Winter cereals and perennial ryegrass fields are advancing in development. Fall rye and winter wheat fields are grain filling with more advanced rye fields in the firm dough stage and visibly turning. With poor yield potential and high demand for green feed, some winter cereals have been harvested as green feed. Start to harvest of winter cereals is near. 

Wheat, oats and barley are holding west of the escarpment where cooler temperatures and moisture conditions have been more favourable than in the Red River valley and northern parts of the region. Many cereal fields have short stature this year being stressed from moisture deficit and high temperatures. Cereal straw will be limited in supply this season as crops are short and demand is expected to be high given the poorer hay harvest. Development varies from late flowering to flowering finished and grain fill started in earliest wheat fields. Fungicide applications have wrapped up as disease pressure is low and crop yield potential reduced. Little to no dew most mornings. Aphid activity reported on wheat along with some of their natural predators. 

Corn growth varies with moisture conditions and stage ranging from V6 to V9. Leaf rolling noticed on more and more fields suffering from moisture deficit stress as plants attempt to preserve moisture. 

Field peas are looking fair to good with many fields in mid flower to finished flowering. Seedpod development is evident on many fields. 

Canola staging varies greatly from rosette to pod in the more advanced fields. Some fields are very stagey with plants bolting alongside other plants finishing flowering. Flax fields are short in stature, some still flowering and some in the boll stage. Sunflowers are tolerating the warmer temperatures but are as in need of moisture as other crops are. Staging is now up to about V6 to V10 stage. 

Soybean fields are in early flower (R1 to R2). Herbicide applications are completed in soybeans. Soybean Cyst nematode has been confirmed in a soybean field with above ground symptoms and visible cysts on roots. Growers should be scouting fields for symptoms and presence of the pest by checking roots. Field beans are starting to flower and fungicide application has started in areas where crop potential yield is good and moisture still adequate. 

Reports of good tuber size on early planted potatoes in irrigated fields, however heat stress is resulting in heat runners and tuber chaining. Minor reports of blackleg. Warm, dry conditions not favorable for late blight disease so no late blight spores have been trapped. European corn borer pheromone baited trap counts have been rising. Colorado potato beetles are active in some more fields. 

True armyworm, a potential cereal pest, pheromone baited traps remain in place with low cumulated counts in the region so far. Bertha armyworm traps are in place to monitor the emergence of this potential canola pest over the next few weeks. Early trap counts are generally low in the region but a few more weeks of trapping remains. Grasshoppers are a concern to crops in some areas and the crops are under stress. Control measures have been applied to field headlands in the south eastern part of the region. 

Haying is progressing well with the dry conditions, quality is good but yields are below normal with older hay fields well below normal. Hay fields and pastures are browning off and there will be no 2nd cut in the drier areas. Crops, hay and pasture conditions are deteriorating. Pastures are in better condition where there has been more rain. Overall existing growth is sufficient for the grazing livestock so far but there is no new growth in many pastures. Grasshoppers are a problem in hay & pasture. 

Eastern Region

Rainfall recorded at the Eastern weather stations ranged from 0-6 mm across the region. There are no areas in the region that received much rain and crops are showing it. Crops in Southern areas that did get some rain last week are still looking better than more Central and Northern areas. Crop development continues to be pushed on at a rapid pace with the high temperatures. Yield potential for earlier season crops will likely be affected, especially in the canola. Later season crops like corn, soybean and sunflowers would still greatly benefit from some timely substantial rain. All of the Southeast region is in need of rain, a good gentle soaker with an inch or two would help a lot. Subsoils continue to dry out as roots draw on it for plant needs. 

Winter wheat and fall rye are in the seed filling stage. Moisture demands continue to be high on these crops. Time will tell if the root systems are deep enough to tap into sub-soil moisture to finish grain filling. Spring cereals are finished flowering and are in the milk or early seed fill stage. As with the winter cereals the spring cereals will also depend on deeper roots to help with seed filling. Corn is at the V8 to V10 stage. Leaf curling due to lack of moisture is again very evident this week, especially in the hot afternoons. 

Field pea crops are at flat pod to early pod fill stage with very low disease levels in upper and lower canopy. Fields continue to look flaccid in the heat with lower leaves drying up. 

Canola is at the 60% flower to end of flowering/pod set stage. The high heat has been hard on the canola, flower blast is expected to have yield implications. Flax is finishing flowering and beginning to set boles. Excessive flower drop was evident and drying up of lower leaves was observed. 

Soybean are at R2 to R3 on original and reseeded crop. Leaf flipping is occurring in the heat of the day but other moisture stress symptoms are yet to be observed. 

Producers continue to scout for grasshoppers but there has only been limited spraying in a few hotspots reported. Grasshopper numbers and damage levels have not been as high as was expected. Continued dry conditions have Soybean aphids and spider mites on producer’s minds. No reports of damage or insecticide applications have been received but producers continue to watch their fields closely for these potential pests. 

In southern parts of the region first Cut hay is winding down with some fields left due to grasshopper infestation and very low yields. Some lowland marsh cutting still expected to occur. Dairy farmers have started 2nd cut. Yields look reduced due to lack of moisture. Pasture conditions continue to deteriorate with continuous grazing and overgrazed pastures fairing the worst. Grasshopper infestations on pastures and hayfields occurring. Some are spraying and some are giving up with such low yields anyway. Dugout capacity continues to decline with some drying up completely. 

In Northern parts of the region dairy hay second cut is just starting. No yields have been reported. Lack of rainfall is not promoting very good regrowth. For both dairy and beef hay, level of stand management and luck in getting timely rain from a few weeks ago remain the two most important factors determining hay yields. Tame beef hay is estimated at 60% of normal yields and wild hay yields are less than 50% of normal. Quality seen as fair/average. Pastures condition is poor with feeding continuing on pasture. Low hay yields have producers looking for extra forage to bale. Ditches and other grassed areas are being cut. Some producers are expected to cut oat fields intended for grain as a forage. Additional acres of corn meant for grain production may be silaged as well. Dugouts are empty or close to empty and pumping from rivers has proven very difficult because of low river levels. Most producers up here water from wells or fill dugouts from wells so dugout condition is not a good indicator of available water supply. Producers, both beef and dairy are becoming more concerned about feed supplies going forward. Increased rainfall over the coming weeks will be absolutely critical if improvements in the situation are to occur. Livestock water availability is rated as adequate. 

Interlake Region

Dry conditions continue across the Interlake Region. Warm season crops are coping with heat and drought stress better than the cool season crops. All crops are short and drought symptoms are evident on some lighter textured ridges. Overall crop condition is rated as fair. 

Fall rye and winter wheat are in the milk or dough stages. Plants are turning. The majority of spring wheat and barley are in the milk stage, with the remainder in late flower. Oats range in stage from stem elongation to milk. Fungicide applications were done on a few fields. Some fields are being sprayed for grasshoppers if in close proximity to hay fields or grassland areas that are being cut and baled. 

The majority of canola is in full bloom, with a small percent podded, and later seeded canola is in the rosette stage. Most sunflowers are in the vegetative stage, with bud development occurring in some cases. 

Soybeans range from R1-R3, with a small percent still in the vegetative stages. Corn is in the V6 to V13 stage, with some late seeded corn at V1 to V5. 

Field peas are finishing flowering, with the majority starting to pod. Some fields are starting to turn colour. 

Haying continues, yields are reported as poor. Age of stand, spring frosts, fertility, insect pressure and drought are all contributing factors to poor yields. Some spraying of hayfields and pastures for grasshoppers. Pasture growth is not keeping up to livestock requirements. Supplemental feeding on summer pastures is occurring.

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