In the Southwest Region rainfall was spotty over the past week with reported amounts of five to 40 mm. Warm, dry conditions have helped to dry up fields and several producers were able to spray unseeded acres. Early-seeded cereal crops are in the flag-leaf to early-heading stage and several producers are applying fungicides to crops that warrant application. Early-seeded canola crops are flowering and the hot weather is causing flower abortion. Canola that was broadcast seeded is starting to show effects of moisture stress since roots are shallow and not able to access subsoil moisture.
Late-seeded cereals are in the three-to four-leaf stage and are also showing effects of the heat. These crops could benefit from some precipitation. Several producers have been haying over the past week and conditions have been good for putting up good-quality hay. Pastures continue to dry. Areas of pasture where water has stood for a long period of time are dying off.
Hot and dry weather conditions were general through the Northwest Region. Through the Swan River and Roblin areas, crop stands are uniform and developing well. Soil moisture is becoming limited and the crops could benefit from some precipitation. Development of crops is less advanced east of the Escarpment from Grandview to Lake Manitoba, with widely variable staging and stand uniformity. All crops in this area are reflecting the difficult excess moisture conditions early in the season. Crop stands with root development or root disease issues are beginning to reflect the effects of the hot, dry weather conditions. Weed and volunteer growth on unseeded acres and drownouts are being managed by tillage and herbicides, or for potential fall-seeded crops.
Bertha armyworm trap counts are increasing in the Swan River and San Clara areas. Some early wheat midge activity has been reported around Ste. Rose and Swan River.
Haying operations are 70 to 80 per cent complete under dry conditions. Yields and quality are average or better. Pastures grazed before forage growth was adequate or under early wet conditions are seeing lost production potential under the recent dry, hot conditions. Production potentials are unchanged for flood-impacted low-lying or poorly drained native forage and pasture lands.
Crops have advanced dramatically with the increased temperatures. Wet soils are drying up and water levels on the rivers are declining. However, some low areas still remain wet. The change in weather conditions is affecting soil and crop conditions. Clay soils have deep cracks while sandy soils are quite dry. Some crop root systems are struggling to reach the moisture below. Crops are starting to exhibit symptoms of moisture and heat stress and is prevalent in annual crops and varies by area. Almost all crops could use some precipitation, with the exception of the Gladstone area.
As much as five to 10 per cent additional acres were seeded to barley or greenfeed in northwest parts of the region. Nonuniform crop staging continues to create challenges for both herbicide and fungicide timings.
Disease pressure remains high in many fields due to higher humidity. Fungicides continue to be applied to canola and cereals where warranted. Potatoes and vegetable acres are being irrigated. Diamondback moth numbers remain high in trap counts. Bertha armyworm trap counts are low. Most insect pressure appears low at this point. Haying continues with good yields. Quality is lower due to the later-season cuts. There are some concerns about losses due to intense heat. Secondcut alfalfa has good growth, although it is starting to slow since rain would be welcomed. Pastures that were not drowned out are in good condition and growing well with abundant moisture. At this point, growth is keeping ahead of grazing. Grasses growing in areas previously drowned out are now yellowing due to the hot temperatures. Pasture land in the Gladstone area is drying up.
The earliest-seeded spring wheat is in the milk to very soft-dough stage. A significant portion of the crop is flowering with fungicide applications for fusarium head blight ongoing. The late-seeded crop is approaching flag leaf. Spraying of insecticide to control true armyworm that had exceeded economic thresholds occurred in wheat, oats and corn in the Whitemouth/Elma areas. Most barley fields have progressed to head-emergence stages. Oat fields, with the exception of those seeded late, are at head-emergence stages. Winter wheat fields vary from soft-dough to hard-dough stage. On cereals, moisture stress symptoms are evident as incomplete head filling has been observed in some fields. Canola crop staging continues to span a wide range although all fields are now flowering.
The most advanced crop is at 80 per cent flower or more and the late-seeded crop is just starting to flower. Some flower blasting has been observed.
Fungicide applications for sclerotinia control continue. Some true armyworm was discovered in canola fields but no instances of spraying are reported. Flax crops are in a range of flowering stages with some crops even starting to move into grain fill. Moisture stress due to poor root development is being reported. Soybean fields are flowering. True armyworm was also reported in soybean but no instances of spraying are noted. Soybean demonstrated a number of leaf symptoms this week with the most common being brown spot (septoria) and bacterial blight. Also some fields appear to be significantly impacted by either root rots or phytophora root rot.
Corn growth stage ranges from the V8 to V10 growth stage. Corn growth continues to accelerate given the sunny, warm weather and many crops are currently five to six feet tall. The most advanced sunflowers are entering reproductive growth stages with small heads now forming.
Hayfield condition ranges from fair to good across the region. First-cut haying continues and is half done. Yields in southern areas of the region are reported as two tons DM per acre for alfalfa and 1.75 tons for alfalfa/grass hay. In northern areas hay yields have been reported about 80 per cent of normal expected yields.
Pasture land conditions are rated as good but high levels of bullflies pestering livestock are noted.
There was no precipitation over the past week. Some precipitation would be beneficial to annual crops and harvested forage crops as the top soil continues to dry.
Greenfeed crops are facing challenges as dry seedbeds have resulted in poor to fair germination. Green foxtail competition in oats and tame millets is causing production losses in late-seeded greenfeed.
Diamondback moth larvae have been found in canola crops below economic threshold levels. The continuing dry weather is beneficial for harvest of the hay crop. Dairy farmers continue with harvest of second-cut alfalfa-grass crops. With the exception of Lake Manitoba-area farms, North Interlake farms are making excellent progress on haying with tame hay, and native hay starting to progress due to excellent drying weather. Hay yields are good; less alfalfa is seen in most fields due to years of excess moisture. Alfalfa leaf cutter bee activity is enhanced with warm temperatures resulting in good alfalfa seed set.