High rainfall amounts were reported throughout the region in the past week, with the Minnedosa area one of the hardest hit. Early seeded crops appear to be tolerating the moisture better than late seeded crops. Approximately 15-30 per cent of crop acres will not get seeded due to excessive moisture, although greenfeed may still be planted on some of these acres. Early seeded cereal crops are in the tillering stage, canola varies from just emerging to cabbaging, flax is in the emergence to three-to four-inches tall stage, sunflowers are in the two-to four-leaf stage, peas are covering the ground and seem to be handling the moisture well. Lentils lentils are filling in but are starting to show symptoms of moisture stress. Some weed spraying occurred last week, but many fields still need to be done.
Disease pressure in cereal crops remains high. Some fungicides have been applied, but the recent rain has made only aircraft applications possible. Winter wheat crops are about 30 per cent headed and producers will be looking at spraying for fusarium head blight this week. Fall rye crops are headed and look good. Hay crops are fairing well too, but getting the crop cut and baled in good condition will be difficult. Pastures are growing well, but water ponding is reducing grass quality and the ability of cattle to move about.
Most of the region is very wet after significant rains moved in mid-week. Estimates remain at 15 per cent of fields unseeded, 10 per cent flooded and 15 per cent saturated. The wet conditions are causing severe yellowing in crops, poor root development, dead plants and premature bolting. There have been fewer challenges in the areas of Roblin, The Pas and Grandview north, where yield potentials are higher. Remaining areas have extremely variable conditions.
A limited amount of seeding and reseeding was done at the start of the week and about 50-60 per cent of fields have been sprayed for weeds. Many weeds are evident, including advanced volunteer canola in cereals. Cereal leaf diseases are prevalent. Canola pest monitoring trap counts remain low. Winter cereals are heading out. Pastures are good but poor weather conditions are delaying an average hay harvest. Producers relying on native hay are reporting increased lake water levels and flooding in low-lying lands.
Stress from excessive moisture is a concern throughout the region, with standing water reported in some fields. Many low lying areas will not recover. Early seeded crops seem to be handling the moisture the best. Crops seeded a bit later are struggling, although some of the most recently seeded crops are doing relatively well. Heat-loving crops are advancing very slowly. Seeding and reseeding operations continued last week until the rains started. Greenfeed may be seeded in some fields as they dry up.
Weed control applications continue to be challenged by the weather conditions. Ruts are evident in many fields and the poor conditions may result in performance concerns. Corn is suffering from excess moisture and is growing slowly due to cooler temperatures. Soybeans are in the unifoliate to second trifoliate stage and seem to be handling the wet conditions relatively well.
Leaf diseases are evident on the majority of cereal crops. Fungicide spraying continues in winter wheat, and has started in some early seeded spring wheat. Wheat streak mosaic virus has been confirmed in the Somerset area. Fungicide spraying has started in early seeded canola. Diamondback moth traps continue to show high numbers in eastern parts of the region; on-going monitoring of fields is required. Western areas report light to moderate flea beetle activity. Wireworm activity in cereals is reported in western areas.
Ground squirrels are reported in many fields in the Somerset/Pilot Mound area. Small areas of two to 10 acres are often severely damaged, particularly where canola is grown on recently broken pasture or adjacent to pasture or hay fields. Hay is growing rapidly. Grasses are headed and alfalfa is starting to bloom. First cut has begun for dairy quality alfalfa and is being mostly used for silage in order to limit the amount of time the cut hay is in the field. Haying operations are a struggle due to frequent rains. Pastures are generally growing well, with ample grass for grazing, despite some pastures being flooded.
Uneven crop growth is a concern for many producers as a result of excessive moisture, and will result in yield losses in 2010. Earlier seeded fields are managing the excess moisture better and appear to be recovering, while later seeded fields are still heavily stressed and continue to struggle.
Cereals are in the flag leaf stage and a few have started to head out. Leaf diseases in cereals are prominent in lower leaves and on flag leaves. Dead plants are prominent in areas where water in the field is still noticeable. Crop yellowing is appearing in many fields throughout the region. Canola staging ranges from six-leaf (25 per cent of fields), to bolting (50 per cent) and flowering (25 per cent). Soybeans are in the second to third trifoliate stage. Soybean damage from excess moisture is noticeable in low areas (five-15 per cent of fields), but nodulation is well established on plant roots. Corn is in the six to eight-leaf vegetative stage and looks good. Sunflowers are in the four-to-eight-leaf vegetative stage and also look good. Winter wheat has headed out and plant stands are good.
Diamondback moth counts are high, which will necessitate season-long monitoring. Herbicide spraying is behind schedule. Fungicide applications on cereal crops are well under way. Spraying for sclerotinia in canola has begun and will intensify later in the week as the crop continues to enter the flowering stage. Alfalfa fields are in the early to mid-bloom stage, with farmers struggling to bale what has already been cut.
More showers across the region this past week prevented crops from recovering from previous rain events. Crop damage has become more evident as sun and heat returned over the weekend. Pesticide application was general in the early part of the week. Both aerial and ground application equipment were active, although field rutting by ground equipment has been significant.
Crop damage has occurred on some fields as a result of herbicide appl icat ions on stressed crops. Field application activities in the past week included: fungicides on winter wheat, herbicides on most annual crops and insecticides on alfalfa seed crops to control alfalfa weevil and other insects prior to leafcutter bee turnout. Hay harvest has started but the continued rainfall has reduced expected quality and has affected field accessibility. Hay harvested to date has been in the form of chopped silage or haylage. Pastures are producing well but will suffer from livestock traffic on wet areas. Insects on livestock in pastures have increased substantially and are causing stress on the animals.