Repeated rain showers fell during the week in most of the region. Rainfall varied from 0.5 to 6.5 mm. Overnight temperatures fell below zero, while single-digit daytime highs were the norm.
Average soil temperature is normal to below normal range at this time. Some areas are too wet and water is standing in the low spots of the field. Majority of the region has
adequate soil moisture and some areas have surplus a surplus. Unharvested crops from 2019are being combined as fields permit.
Very little seeding has been done to date. Soils are very wet in many locations and producers struggle to bring equipment on the field. Farmers are hoping this forecasted rainfall for the weekend holds off.
Some seeding south and east of Virden along Hwy 83, as well as near Brandon and Rivers areas.
Weed emergence has started, but cool conditions are prohibiting them from flourishing.
Winter wheat and fall rye are doing well as most fields look promising and very little to no winterkill this year. Most producers are planning for weed control and fertilizer application in those crops.
Cool growing conditions have hay land and pastures growing slowly. Soil moisture in hay and forage land is adequate and producers are starting to move cattle to pasture as feed supplies are running short and want moves completed prior to seeding start. Dugouts rated at full capacity.
Temperatures in the past week were generally cool throughout the region. Daytime temperatures were highest around the southern part of the region with highs of 21°C with overnight lows dropping to minus 5°C. Rain was widespread with precipitation amounts ranging from 5 to 13 mm. Soil moisture is generally adequate to normal, drying on the surface with good sub- surface moisture.
Fields are drying up however seeding operations are limited. Some clean up 2019 unharvested crop is taking place in areas where overwintered crop remained. There are a few producers around Roblin seeding peas while near Swan River there is a start on spring wheat, peas and fababeans. There is also a start around the Dauphin/Ste. Rose area with fertilizer going down and seeding taking place on lighter-textured soils. Winter cereals have generally survived the winter with few issues. Weed growth including volunteer canola has begun; insect activity is minimal to date.
Pasture and hay fields are just beginning to green up. Heat is required for plant growth as forecasted nighttime temperatures below zero all this week will hinder forage growth. Livestock remain in winter-feeding yards or on spring calving pastures. Soil moisture conditions are adequate with some areas wetter after Friday’s rainfall. Dugout levels are reported as full.
Harvest and removal of overwintered crops progressed during the few days of warmer and drier conditions last week. Most overwintered crops are west of the escarpment and are mainly wheat, canola and soybeans. Crop producers are doing what they can to remove and dispose of the crop material in preparation for seeding. Some is being harvested, some burned and some baled for livestock feed, depending on crop condition and remaining value. Most unharvested corn from last fall was harvested over the winter. Corn residue is being worked in or burned, where conditions allow.
Topsoil moisture is abundant, with standing stubble capturing snow and delaying warming and drying of soils. A number of reports of tractors getting stuck are occurring. Spring runoff has been moderate, with below normal winter precipitation and below normal rainfall in April. Accumulated precipitation last week varies from 5 to 20 mm generally affecting the whole region.
Daytime temperatures remained in the low to mid teens while overnight temperatures dipped into the frost range. Frost is still coming out of the ground and water is visibly standing in low lying areas of field, even after very light showers. Field pea and wheat seeding started in a few selected fields and is expected to remain slow as forecast is for cool, rainy conditions for the remainder of the week, further delaying warming and drying of fields.
Fertilizer applications progressed with broadcast application and some incorporation in selected fields. Manure injection from intensive livestock operations have progressed where field conditions allowed.
Winter wheat, fall rye and perennial ryegrass fields have de-hardened and are re-growing. Winter survival of those crops is very good. Recovery and growth is evident with minimum reseeding expected. Fertilizing of those crops is considered mostly done.
Some seeding activity reported in the Red River Valley with some wheat and corn, but remains minimal. Indications are that cereal acres will increase this year compared to last year, oilseeds expected to remain stable while soybeans should be down. Some potato planting reported in the Austin to Carberry, Glenboro and Winkler areas on lighter textured and better drained soils. Cold soil temperatures could slow emergence on early-planted crops.
Weeds have emerged, but growth is slow, given the prevailing cool temperatures. Winter annuals and perennial weeds are showing signs of growth but remain slow. Pre-seed burnoff treatments or cultivation has been limited to date.
Precipitation across the region over the last week was highly variable with most areas seeing no more than 5 mm accumulation. Overall, daytime and nighttime temperatures were colder than normal, but daytime temperatures were above normal from Wednesday to Friday last week. Soil temperatures at seeding depth on the warmest days last week exceeded 10 to 12°C but quickly dropped off to the 0 to 2°C range at night. Soil temperatures on fields with heavier residue cover were significantly lower. Soil moisture conditions on cropland are mostly adequate with some fields in a surplus condition, particularly in central and northern districts.
Producers have had to assess soil moisture conditions on a field-by- field basis when making decisions about whether fieldwork was possible. Soil moisture conditions on hay and pasture is adequate.
Across the region, less than 2% of winter wheat or fall rye acres appear to have winterkilled. Overall, stand condition was assessed as good to excellent with most stand damage resulting from field rutting during spring fertilizer application. Producers continue to apply nitrogen wherever field access is possible. Fertilizer application on winter cereals will be completed this week if weather is conducive to field drying.
A limited amount of seeding occurred last week, with less than 5% of spring wheat acres going in. A few fields of oats were also seeded. Seeding is expected to become more general this week. Producers are taking any opportunity they can to get work done on a field-by-field basis.
Due to excess moisture conditions last fall prevented a lot of fieldwork and fertilizer application in the region, producers are under pressure to get that work done now. A limited amount of swathed canola and cereal acres remain unharvested. Harvesting of most overwintered corn, sunflowers and soybeans has been completed. An increased amount of spring stubble burning has been occurring as producers deal with heavy residue cover on some fields. Corn stover has had to be managed aggressively with flail mowing or stubble burning being preferred methods. Fertilizer was broadcasted on fields last week and custom floaters are expected to be increasingly busy this week as fields dry. Tillage is occurring wherever possible to prepare seedbeds and incorporate fertilizer. Manure application began last week and continues. Availability of livestock water is adequate for the region.
Field activity is just starting in the Interlake. Cultivation to deal with ruts from last fall’s wet harvest conditions is being done where conditions allow. Fertilizer applications continue and a few acres have been seeded. Some soil sampling is being undertaken. Cooler temperatures and wet conditions have slowed the start of seeding for most. Operations will ramp up as soon as conditions allow.
Cold conditions persisted through much of April, allowing for a slow gradual melt. Snowfall over winter was lower than normal, and spring runoff was reduced. Overnight temperatures continue to drop below freezing. Daytime highs rose to 17 to 23°C last week, but have declined this week. Showers last week amounted to less than 10mm. Some water remains in ditches and drains. Frost is still coming out of the ground. Most of last year’s unharvested crop has come off.
Fertilizer is being applied to forages and annual cropland where field conditions allow. Seeding has started, although minimal to date. Soil moisture is currently adequate; wet soil conditions are improving with every day. Peas are going in where possible. Cereals are starting where conditions allow. Most movement is occurring in the southern part of the region. Winter survival of perennial crops seems to be good.
Pasture regrowth is slow; it will be some time before cattle are moved out. Forage availability is a concern for those impacted most severely by dry conditions in the last two to three years. Dugout water levels are average for this time of year.