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Manitoba Farmers Still Have Lots Of Crop To Harvest

“We had four months of spring – April, May, June and July,” he said. “Then we had one month of summer, that would be September. And now we’ve gone straight into winter.”

– Calvin Gust

If you’ve still got crop out, you’re not alone.

Two-thirds of the delegates attending the Keystone Agricultural Producers’ (KAP) meeting here Oct. 15 raised their hands when asked if they had combining to do.

And the crop that’s out isn’t restricted to later-maturing ones such as sunflowers, soybeans and corn; there are cereals and oilseeds to harvest in every district.

A lot of land in the Interlake was not seeded this spring because it was too wet. And it has been too wet to harvest what did get seeded, said Kyle Foster who farms near Arborg in KAP District 10.

“There’s still a fair bit of crop out there but there’s nothing out there worth anything to begin with,” he said. “If it stays out there… it’s not a big deal at this point.

“I’m really very worried about a lot of farmers in our area. They can’t handle this again.”

There’s lots of crop in the fields north of Highway 16 and west of Minnedosa, said Weldon Newton from District 9.

“I suspect in the Rossburn area there is more out than has already been harvested,” he said.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

There was good and bad news from District 1, said Bill Campbell who farms near Minto. The good news is southwest Manitoba had a bumper crop; the bad news is now farmers have to move it. But it’s a great problem to have, he added.

“I don’t want this released to Stats Canada, our grain traders or the media – in southwestern Manitoba we had one of the best crops that we’ve ever had,” Campbell said. “The production was phenomenal. I thought last year would be once in a lifetime, but I’m thinking this year was probably equal to it.

“Half or more of the producers will have grain stored outside. There’s numerous grain bags around.”

However, hay supplies in the area are tight and buying it to feed beef costs isn’t economic, Campbell added. Many cow herds are being sold off, he said. Other KAP delegates reported the same in their areas.

It was another “banner year” in the Swan River Valley, Bowsman-area farmer and District 12 delegate Calvin Gust said.

“We had four months of spring – April, May, June and July,” he said. “Then we had one month of summer, that would be September. And now we’ve gone straight into winter.”

SEASONAL MIX

While much of Manitoba was cool and wet, the northwest was cool and dry, but received good rains in August resulting in good to very good wheat and canola yields, Gust said.

“I would say out of 10 farmers are finished harvest in the Swan Valley, but in The Pas a little less,” he said.

There’s still lots of crop to be harvested in District 3, which takes in much of the south-central part of the province, said Theresa Bergsma, secretary manager of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association.

“We were very grateful for (warm temperatures in) September and we think likely probably 60 per cent of the grain corn crop made it,” she said.

“We would like a break in the weather to keep that moving.”

Crop yields are variable in District 6 said Chuck Fossay who farms near Starbuck. As a result, yields in the district will be average.

“Most of the flax is out there and pretty well all the soybeans are out there and the corn and sunflowers are out in the field,” he said. “I think we’re going to need a week to 10 days to get everything cleaned up.”

Manitoba processing potato farmers enjoyed above-average yields and good quality, said Gary Sloik, manager of Keystone Potato Producers Association. Hot weather in September delayed harvest, and then it turned wet and then cold. As of last week about five per cent of the crop was unharvested. If conditions allow, some of it will still be dug, he said.

HONEY OF A HARVEST

Paul Gregory of the Manitoba Beekeepers Association said most of Manitoba had a good honey crop except in the Interlake and north of Dauphin.

Despite an outbreak of white mould this summer, Manitoba farmers have been harvesting one of their best edible crops ever, said Roxanne Roels, the executive director of the Manitoba Pulse Crops Association. As a result the industry expects more plantings in 2010.

Soybean pods are smaller than usual so yields are expected to be down, she said.

Manitoba’s sunflower crop is vulnerable to head rot and blackbird feeding, but farmers who get their confectionery sunflowers in the bin should see good demand for them due to reduced supplies in the United States, said Darcelle Graham, executive director of the National Sunflower Association of Canada.

Seed quality and quantity will be generally good in 2010, said Ray Askin of the Manitoba Seed Growers Association. However, he advised those planting soybeans next year to line up supplies early as seed quality could be an issue. [email protected]

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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