Frost falls on agro-Manitoba, reseeding efforts take shape

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for June 1

Southwest Region

Cooler than normal temperatures continued from the previous week. All parts of the region had temperatures drop below freezing last week, down to -5 C for several hours in some areas. There are some reports of reseeding canola, but damage is not widespread. Increasing temperatures this week

will spur new growth. Daytime temperatures got up to 22 to 24 C; average temperature range for the previous week up to 9 to 11 C. There is increased concern regarding lack of rain in all parts of the region, especially south of PTH 24. Growing degree-days, precipitation and corn heat units (CHU) are all below normal for this time of year.

Excellent seeding progress has been made, with seeded acres ranging from 80 to 90 per cent complete for the region, with most farmers almost done. Most report good seedbed conditions. Timely rains will be needed to support all crops, as all soils are dry below the top 6 inches or so. Crops are germinating and emerging, but areas of shallow seeded crops, canola in particular, sit in dry soil.

Peas are looking promising and are in the 3rd to 4th node stage, and getting closer to herbicide application timing. The majority of spring cereals are in, estimated at 95 to 100 per cent complete. Spring wheat is emerging to 2-leaf, and some early 3-leaf. Emergence is rated as fair to good, a result of cool temperatures and dry soils there are some bare patches in the fields. Rain will even things up. Oats are emerging to 2-leaf. Most corn – both grain and silage – is planted, emergence has started. Some early seeded corn is at 2- to 3-leaf stage.

Canola seeding is estimated at 95 per cent complete. Some reports of frost injury to date, there are pocket areas in the region which are reporting some reseeding but the percentage is lower than anticipated. Drier conditions are also influencing farmers’ decisions to reseed their affected crops. Seed availability is not an issue in the Southwest region.

Most canola was seeded in late May, which helped protect against frost damage, since crop had not the time frost arrived. Early seeded canola is at the cotyledon stage. Flax has emerged. Soybeans and corn planting is estimated at 95 per cent complete. Soybeans are starting to crack the ground and no reports of any frost injury in this crop. Some corn may be swing acres – going into feed if forage supplies continue to be a concern. Some oat and barley acres will remain flexible, going as grain or feed as necessary.

Winter cereals are coming along well. Fall rye is at the booting stage. Most of the crop has had in-crop herbicide application completed.

Weeds have been slow to grow as well, but trouble spots of wild oats are emerging to one leaf and more, dandelions are flowering. Broadleaf weeds are starting to emerge. Lambs’ quarters, cleavers and volunteer canola. Some herbicide applications have been made. Spraying will ramp up through the week, and is expected to be general by the weekend into early next week.

Diamondback moth traps are out. Moth numbers are minimal. Volunteer canola is seeing heavy flea beetle feeding pressure, and producers are making sure sprayers are ready to go, if needed, once canola crop emergence is more widespread.

Forage regrowth has been slow with cold conditions. Alfalfa has stretched to 7 inches (18 cm), but there was minimal frost damage on alfalfa. Grasses are slower to grow than normal. Some pastures are currently being stocked due to exhausted hay supplies, further stressing pastures. Rain and warmer temperatures are needed for regrowth. Previous weeks’ rain helped to some extent, but more is needed.

Dugout levels are below normal, and sometimes dry. Water supply is rated as 40 to 50 per cent adequate.

Northwest Region

The weather conditions in the Northwest region were extremely variable this past week. Temperatures reached highs of mid-20 C but then dropped to well below zero mid-week. On Wednesday lows of -5 C occurred through most of the region for approximately 8 to 10 hours. Reseeding activity due to frost events is not significant as most crops were just emerging. Strong winds over the weekend added to plant stress. There were some isolated rain events with the Swan River area receiving 15mm and Laurier 11mm; most of the rest of the region received trace amounts only. The precipitation received in the previous week has helped with soil moisture conditions however; some lighter soils are beginning to dry out, especially where overworked.

Seeding is generally complete through the region with producers finishing the last few acres. There has been some reseeding due to frost, wind and flea beetle damage although some fields have been affected more than others. Seeding is 90 to 95 per cent complete in the region.

Wheat seeding is complete in the Northwest region. Barley and oats are 95 per cent in the ground. Cereals were seeded into adequate moisture for germination and with timely rains are emerging evenly and in good condition. That being said, soil moisture on lighter soils is short for this time of year.

Peas are all in the ground and are emerging in the Roblin, Swan River and Dauphin areas. With timely rains, peas are in good condition.

There was good progress on seeding of canola this past week. To date, approximately 95 per cent of forecasted acres are in the ground with the earliest seeded canola emerging. The canola has been the most affected by the recent frost and wind events although reseeding activity is limited. Flea beetle activity on canola has been increasing this past week and stem feeding is noticeable in some fields. There was good progress on soybeans last week and seeding is virtually complete. There are reports of fewer soybean acres going in this year in the region.

There has been good winter survival of most winter cereals, clovers and alfalfa. Some fall rye did not make it through the winter in good condition and those fields are being worked down and seeded to another crop.

Pheromone baited traps for diamondback moth monitoring are out in fields throughout the region. There are no significant numbers showing up as of yet. There are some reports of flea beetle damage on newly emerged canola in the region.

Forage growth remains slow with the dry and cool conditions. Alfalfa growth is faring better. Minimal damage occurred with last week’s frost. Turnout of cattle onto pastures is slowly happening where there is sufficient forage to sustain the herd. Seeding of annual crops for greenfeed and silage is wrapping up. Additional moisture is needed for pasture and hay growth as well as for dugouts as water supplies are low.

Central Region

Strong winds and normal temperatures opened the week causing some soil drifting to fields with poor cover as well as surface soil drying. Conditions changed Tuesday with winds shifting to the north and temperatures cooling to well below normal for the rest of the week. Daytime temperatures cooled below normal and nighttime freezing affected most of the region on Thursday (May 27) and Friday (May 28) mornings. Temperatures dipped just below zero in the southeastern parts of the region but dropped to -5 to -7 C in northern parts of the region along Lake Manitoba. Daytime temperatures ranged from +9 C on Wednesday to 27 C on the weekend.

The previous weeks’ rains improved topsoil moisture but also caused some surface crusting where rainfall was more abundant causing emergence issues in some canola fields. Topsoil moisture improved but remains poor to areas south of PTH 3 to the international border where precipitation was lighter. Forecast this week is for sunny and warming temperatures going from the low twenties to as high as mid- thirties later this week. Topsoil is expected to dry further and is a concern to growers especially in areas with poor moisture conditions.

Winter wheat, fall rye and perennial ryegrass fields are growing well as temperatures have warmed and moisture is not as limiting. Development varies with some fall rye fields ranging from the stem elongation to early head emergence.

Wheat, oats and barley seeding is considered done; the frost has caused some leaf tip burn in areas where temperatures were coldest but no serious damage. Cereal emergence is generally good, but is spotty in fields that received little precipitation to date. Earliest seeded cereals emerged well, and development stage varies from two to four leaves. Corn planting is considered done with emergence noticeable on many fields. Frost affected corn worse in areas north of the TransCanada Highway, where temperatures were coldest but regrowth is expected where top growth was damaged. Field peas are growing well and development ranges from 2nd to 6th node. Earliest planted canola fields have emerged but many fields planted before last weeks’ rain are just emerging and have escaped the frost. Most of the canola is seeded but there is some reseeding due to frost, surface soil crusting and dry seedbed causing uneven emergence. Less than 5 per cent of canola acres are expected to be reseeded due to a variety of causes, not limited solely to frost. Seed supplies should not be limiting to meet the demand. No other crops are expected to require reseeding. Flax seeding is considered done in the region, as is sunflower.

Soybean planting is considered done, with many fields emerging and more to come this week. Dry bean planting is about 95 per cent done. Overall seeding in the region is around 98 per cent complete, with only some reseeding required in some areas.

Weed growth is evident with warmer temperatures. In-crop herbicide applications have started as crops are progressing well into the proper development stages and warmer temperatures stimulating growth of crops and weeds. Strong wind conditions make spraying challenging. The very high temperatures forecasted this week will make spraying operations stressful to crops especially where soil moisture is poorer for crop growth.

Potato planting is considered done and 50 per cent of fields now emerging. Recent rains helped with topsoil moisture recharge but more is needed.

Pheromone baited traps for diamondback moth and true armyworm, potential pests of canola and cereals respectively, are setup to monitor their arrival from southern latitudes. Most monitoring sites report zero or very low counts of either pest so far. Flea beetle activity on canola is noticeable with warmer conditions and some control measures applied where needed.

A few producers had to pump water to fill their reservoirs for irrigation or for livestock. With dugouts lower than normal to start the grazing season, there is concern how long the water will last. Producers should consider alternative watering systems to improve water quality and conserve limited water supplies. Most cattle will be moved onto pasture by the end of this week. Hay and pasture forage growth improved after the rains but were affected by last weeks frost. Growth is slower than normal due to drier conditions where rainfall was less. Low-lying wild hay and alfalfa froze in the Alonsa area where frost was more severe. Dandelions are blooming in hay and pasture. Forages will need more moisture soon especially with the forecast high temperatures this week.

Eastern Region

Minimal rainfall was recorded in most parts of the region. Precipitation accumulation ranged from 0-7 mm across the region. Frost was the big weather story this past week. Frost occurred during late evening of Wednesday (May 26), ending Thursday morning (May 27). Lows across the region ranged from -1.7 C to -3.3 C, with colder temperatures occurring in the more Northern parts of the region. Sub- zero duration lasted from 8 to 10 hours. Some factors helped mitigate level of crop damage. It was unseasonably cold the preceding Wednesday, which may have help vulnerable crops like soybean and especially canola hardened off slightly. Recent rainfall before the frost event assisted with mitigating the damage, due to insulating effect of wetter soils.

Seeding is wrapping up across the Eastern region with reports of a few more soybean acres to go in. Some reseeding efforts are ongoing across the region. Winter wheat and fall rye is at the stem elongation stage, winter cereal condition is good. Spring cereals are at the 2- to 4-leaf stage, with 1 to 3 tillers and growing well. Corn is at the V1 to V3 stage, frost damage was noted but new growth has begun. Field peas are at the 3rd to 4th node stage with herbicide spraying ongoing. Sunflowers are at the cotyledon stage. Canola is at the cotyledon to 2-leaf stage, flea beetle feeding is noted but no insecticide applications have been reported yet. Soybean is at the cotyledon to unifoliate leaf stage.

Post emergent spraying will become more general this week. Many producers waited until Monday to start spraying to allow the weeds and crops to recover from the frost and resume active growth. The focus is on post emergent spraying spring cereals, particularly wheat. Producers are trying to get herbicides done as much as possible on cereals before the predicted hot conditions occur later in the week. They want to try to avoid spraying during those conditions. A bit of spraying in corn and soybeans has started as well, particularly to clean up weeds that were not addressed with a pre- emergent pass. Spraying is proceeding quickly in field peas as they are putting on nodes quickly.

The preceding weeks’ frost damage resulted in an estimated 5 to 10 per cent of soybean and canola acres across being reseeded across the region with field evaluations ongoing. Crops, particularly soybean, slowly resumed regrowth and producers were under pressure to make decisions due to soybean seeding deadlines for full crop insurance coverage.

Winter and spring cereals were either untouched or recovered quickly. Peas and sunflowers showed little to no frost symptoms. Corn had leaf dieback, but new growth occurred soon after the frost and crop condition recovered quickly. In canola and soybean, the desire to reseed crops seems to be reducing as time goes by and more signs of crop recovery become evident. It challenging for producers to remain patient while assessing crops given the calendar date.

In northern parts of the region, these frosts have likely been the most severe frost (in terms of plant damage) experienced in soybeans in recent memory, and has caught farmers and retails a bit off guard.

The most advanced crops that emerged the earliest and the most even were the ones that experienced the most damage and stood the greatest chance of being reseeded.

Due to the late May frost date, most soybean and canola crops were still emerging, and yield losses on crops that survived the frosts are expected to be minimal, provided the rest of the season and further field operations go well. Reseeding costs are somewhat reimbursed to farmers, wherever seed companies offer some type of seed warranty. Sourcing that seed also falls on the retailers/companies, which seem to be well prepared to respond. Producers who have to source their own seed are finding it somewhat challenging, particularly if they are trying to source specific shorter- season varieties. Yield potential of June seeded soybeans and canola are expected to be reduced.

Hay and pasture condition is rated good to fair, with half of pastures rated short for moisture supply. Frost impacted alfalfa and delayed the crop by several days. Dairy producers are talking about starting first cut by next week. Livestock water availability is rated as adequate.

In northern parts of the region hay and pasture moisture levels are rated at 60 per cent adequate to 40 per cent short. Hay and pasture growth still very unsatisfactory and about three weeks behind normal. With cows now being turned out to pastures, the conditions of pastures are expected to deteriorate, or not improve significantly. Supplemental feeding on pasture will occur. Overall, hay and pasture situation has not improved and producers remain concerned about feed supplies going forward.

Interlake Region

Scattered showers and thundershowers had the promise of precipitation, but much of the region received less than5mm. Highest amounts of 10 to 15 mm in the Teulon – Balmoral area. Pea-sized hail covered the ground on some fields in the Balmoral area. Although the majority of annual crop acres are still rated as adequate for topsoil moisture, frequent rains will be needed to sustain crop growth through the season.

Dry conditions continue, but frost damage has been the immediate concern. Temperatures continue to be extremely variable, with most of the region seeing highs ranging from 25 to 27 C, and overnight lows down to -2.7 to -8.9 C. Sub-zero temperatures lasted from 7 to 11 hours from May 26-27. Daily averages declined to 9.3 to 11.6 C. Some producers have seeded deeper into moisture; those crops have been slower to emerge, and patchy. A number of retailers and growers in the region comment that we were 3 to 5 days away from disaster with the frost, but much of the canola had not emerged.

Reseeding has not been as extensive as first expected, to the relief of many producers. Evaluations continue to see if reseeding is warranted. Strong winds continue to cause problems, with crop injury from blowing soil. Damage has been most evident on fields with low levels of crop residue, and on fields that have been rolled. Dust continues to kick up following field operations.

Seeding progress has been excellent, with most of the region reporting 90 to 100 per cent complete. The last of annual crops will wrap up this week, crops such as millet for feed are going in, and reseeding continues as crop stands are evaluated following frost. Many report that plants in general are looking beat up, due to a combination of dry ground, constant wind and frost injury.

Winter survival has been good for annual crops; it is ‘wait and see’ to what extent frost may have damaged seed heads in winter wheat and fall rye, as well as forage grass seed. Hay and grass seed fields are very slowly greening up, but with minimal new growth. Some seedling alfalfa and grass fields are being reseeded, as well as older stands. Frost has been the final stress for a number of fields, with reports of significant damage along the west side of the region, towards Lake Manitoba.

Wheat is emerging up to 4-leaves and 2-tillers, with a few reports of early 6-leaf stage. Some fields were laid flat by frost, but recovered in a couple of days. Patchy emergence is noticeable in fields, due to dry conditions. Peas range in stage from 3 to 6 nodes, and are looking good. Barley and oats are emerging, up to early 4-leaf. Reports of leaves burned off by frost in oats, but fields are recovering. Some damage is wind related.

Seeding order has not followed the ‘normal’ order this year due to dry conditions, making it more difficult to estimate total acres affected by frost. Canola has been slower to go in, due to concerns about frost and flea beetle damage. Slower emergence due to deeper seeding, in some cases, and cool soils has helped to limit the need for widespread reseeding of canola. Many report emerged plants completely dead from frost, but as only 30 to 50 per cent of the seeds had germinated and emerged, there is enough still coming to make a decent stand, with close monitoring through the season required for any other stresses. A number of producers report their crop emerged within a day or two after the frosts, entirely escaping damage. More advanced areas have seen 10 to 20 per cent of canola acres reseeded, and up to 30 per cent; many areas report <5 per cent requiring reseeding, and for some areas, several hundred to a thousand acres or so.

Canola is generally in the cotyledon to first true leaf stage. Some reports of cotyledons frozen off, with the first true leaf emerging. Most soybeans escaped frost damage, as deeper seeding and cool soils limited emergence. Yellowing of cotyledons was evident in a number of emerged fields. Many fields have germinated, but emergence occurred following frost. Some of the earliest seeded fields in the south sustained frost damage, reseeding will be required on <10 per cent of acres, in smaller areas. In areas of hardest frost, damage has occurred even to beans at the ground crack stage. Many fields are now seeing beans pushing through.

Corn is as advanced as V3 to V4, but there are a number of reports of leaves frosted off. Some fields will be reseeded, to either canola or corn, with some going to a greenfeed crop, while some sustained minimal injury. Flax has also sustained frost damage, and while some fields have been reseeded, most fields were showing regrowth within a couple of days. Sunflowers have emerged. A couple of fields have been sprayed with Coragen for cutworms.

Flea beetles continue to be a concern in canola, and are being closely monitored, especially with the high temperatures being forecast. Insecticide has been applied in a few fields, particularly with multiple stresses. Herbicides are being applied where weed growth warrants. First pass Liberty applications have begun on canola, and Xtendimax is being applied on dicamba-tolerant soybeans. Weed growth has been slow with dry soils, with some exceptions. Applications will be general by the weekend, and next week will see many acres covered, weather conditions allowing.

Although forages are greening up, dry conditions and now frost continue to limit pasture and hay regrowth. Many alfalfa fields have been hit hard by frost. The majority of hay and pasture is rated as poor to fair. Some alfalfa and grasses looked ready to bloom or head out, at 15 cm or less in height.

Significant stresses from previous seasons are accumulating. Stands that are older than five years have been affected the most, with brown spots where no growth is evident. At present, winter feed supplies are adequate for most, but more concern is being raised about delays to cattle going on to pasture. Some producers are buying feed. Winter forage supplies were improved this past winter as compared to the previous year. Producers switched from annual cash crops to feed crops to make up anticipated shortfalls. Silage and greenfeed acres have again increased.

Livestock water supplies are currently adequate for most, but concern about lack of supply continues to increase. Dugout levels are low for this time of year, with more reports of being completely dry. More reports of well drilling to secure water supply and some producers have started hauling water. Dry conditions and frost in many parts of the Interlake has set back and reduced potential hay and pasture yields. Summer pastures are still not growing as fast as cattle are consuming the grass. Some supplemental feeding continues.

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