Manitoba’s long winter and cold spring wasn’t kind to many Manitoba winter wheat crops, says an official with the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC), which administers the federal provincial crop insurance program.
Meanwhile, MASC is also expecting to get reseeding claims following last week’s high winds.
“We’ve had the one canola claim (from the Portage la Prairie area) so far and that was for the wind damage earlier this week,” David Koroscil, MASC’s manager of claim services said in an interview May 11.
“It was canola that was just up and that strong wind the other day shredded it pretty good apparently. We’re fully anticipating there will be some other claims with the winds from earlier this week as well though.”
Some newly emerged wheat was probably damaged too, he said.
As of May 11 MASC had received around 100 claims on fields of winter wheat that didn’t survive the winter, totalling around 33,000 acres, Koroscil said.
There were 22 winterkill claims on fall rye, representing about 6,500 acres, he added.
A combination of little, or no snow cover, a cold winter and an usually cold spring are blamed.
The bulk of the (affected) area is in southern Manitoba,” Koroscil said. “Deloraine has got significant (winterkill) acreage and then the St. Pierre, Beausejour, Headingley areas. Those are regions that didn’t have a lot of snow cover most of the winter.”
MASC won’t know exactly how many acres of insured winter wheat was sown last fall until farmers submit their seed acreage declarations. The deadline for that is June 30.
Statistics Canada estimates Manitoba farmers seeded 70,000 acres of winter wheat last fall. If accurate, based on claims submitted so far, about half the crop was lost.
Moisture conditions vary around the province, Koroscil said.
“This week was the first week for a good chunk of the province to get going full bore (on seeding), the southern part aside,” he said. “We went up to Dauphin on Monday (May 7) and from Neepawa to Dauphin there was very little activity, but there has been a real good progression throughout the week. Certain areas have stubble that hasn’t been touched so you assume that has held the moisture quite well versus some of these other fields. I think it (moisture) really varies around the province. I think most places would gladly take a rain if it were to happen in the next few days even if there’s nothing in the forecast. We could definitely use one that’s for sure.”