A much-needed rain fell across the Southwest this past week. Rainfall accumulation in the region was between 45 mm to 115 mm. Rain fell over several hours, allowing opportunity to soak in. Some runoff was available to replenish dugouts and sloughs. There are some reports of standing waters in low- lying areas and these wet conditions are temporarily challenging producers with their herbicide spray, causing some ruts in fields. High temperatures are drying up fields quickly. Growing degree-days and Corn Heat Unit accumulation are within 5 per cent of normal.
Seeding of all crops is 100 per cent complete. Canola is recovering from insect damage and dry conditions. However, late seeded canola is just emerging. Early seeded canola is starting to cabbage out. Most fields are receiving herbicide application as hot and windy weather put producers behind schedule. Now with recent moisture both crop and weeds are coming along rapidly.
Herbicide application are estimated 50 to 70 per cent complete across the region. First pass application in all crops except canola are near completion in most areas with rapid progress expected this week on remaining acres. Herbicide application on canola acres are estimated 30 to 40 per cent complete with further progress expected this week.
Winter cereals are heading out, but crop is shorter than normal. Fusarium head blight fungicide spraying could start as early as this weekend, recent rainfall will help head development. Spring cereal crop staging varies depending on seeding date. Most fields are now tillering and first leaf node is visible in the main stem. Most crops have had herbicide applied. The uneven germination is getting better with recent moisture conditions. Soybeans have benefitted from recent rainfall. Most fields are in the unifoliate to first trifoliate stage with some fields having first pass of herbicide applied. Some fields have received nothing as lack of weed competition.
Sunflowers are at V2 to V4 stage, and corn at V4 to V5. Some reports of cutworms in sunflower but no significant damage. Diamondback moth and bertha armyworm traps are up in the region but counts are very low.
Pasture has greened up and hay fields are starting to enter heading stages for grass. Alfalfa still in vegetative stage, not flowering. Pastures will benefit from recent rainfall; however, pastures that were overgrazed in 2020 are still slow to rebound. Livestock are being rotated through pastures as the rainfall improved the conditions. Recent rainfall will help hay land and younger stands will probably benefit the most as compared to older stands. First cut will be below than average expected. Dugouts are about 60 to 70 per cent capacity.
The entire Northwest region received a most-welcome rain this past week. Rainfall amounts ranged from 32 mm up to 107 mm, with Grandview, McCreary and Ruthenia accumulating over 100 mm. Some localized areas received higher amounts up to 125mm. There was some temporary pooling of water in fields, while areas that received larger amounts continue to hold water in low areas. This rain will help replenish subsoil moisture. Some areas that received lower amounts will still need more to replenish. The recent precipitation and heat moved crops along nicely in the region.
Spring cereals across the region are in the seedling/tillering stage and are in good condition. Field peas are continuing in the vegetative growth and are also looking to be in good condition.
Canola across the region is in various stages. Most of the canola is in the rosette stage except where reseeded or late emergence due to dry conditions. Flea beetles and cutworms continue to be a problem, and have contributed to reseeding many acres as well as multiple insecticide applications.
Herbicide applications continue as stages are reached and conditions allow. The continuous strong winds across the region have made spraying a challenge.
Pheromone-baited traps for diamondback moth and Bertha armyworm monitoring continue across the region. There are some diamondback moths showing up in traps around The Pas and Bowsman. So far, numbers remain below level of concern. Bertha armyworm moths remain low for the start of the trapping period. Flea beetles have been actively feeding on emerged canola and continue to be a problem; windy conditions have moved their feeding down to the canola stems. Feeding damage has resulted in reseeding activity primarily in the Swan River area. Cutworms damage also continues to be a concern in the Swan River area.
The majority of cattle have been put out to pasture. Last weeks’ rain and this weeks’ heat will bring on much needed pasture growth and advance hay fields. Pasture growth still slow to date. Plant recovery is slow on overgrazed areas. Some early sightings of alfalfa weevil in that crop. Corn silage and greenfeed acres are in good to excellent condition and being sprayed with herbicides. Water supplies on pasture still low.
Early week sunny skies were replaced by thunderstorm systems on Wednesday to Friday bringing significant and sometimes intense precipitation to the region relieving concerns over moisture limitations to crops and forage growth. Strong south winds on Friday gusting over 100 km/hr in the southwestern part of the region. Winds caused some soil blowing to fields with low crop residue and sandblasting emerging crops, with edible beans most noticeably affected. Some infrastructure damage reported resulting in extended power outages to many parts of the region. Accumulated precipitation ranged from 10 mm in Emerson to 114 mm in the Manitou area with water pooling in low-lying areas of fields where precipitation was highest. Rill erosion is noticeable on fields in areas with rolling topography, higher rainfall and poor ground cover. Most areas received 30 to 60 mm. Year-to-date rainfall is now reported as approaching or above normal for most areas of the region while heat units received to date is near normal. Soils were dry and much of the rain infiltrated improving topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions.
Daytime temperatures cooled from the highs of the previous week to below normal during the rainy period but returning to near normal during the weekend. Topsoil moisture is good to excessive now depending on where rain accumulation was highest. Sunny and warm conditions are in the forecast this week, which should stimulate crop and forage growth.
Winter cereals and perennial ryegrass fields are growing well as temperatures have warmed and moisture abundant to support growth, on heavier-textured soils. Fall rye fields have headed out and flowering, winter wheat is heading out. Frost damage noticed on heads of fall rye where frost hit a few weeks ago. Loamy soils immediately east of the escarpment are seeing poor growth and short, stunted cereals.
Wheat, oats and barley are growing well but stagey in fields that had poor emergence due to poor topsoil moisture at seeding. Cereal development stage varies from four to flag leaves emerging. Herbicide application is wrapping up in cereals as conditions allow. Wireworm feeding damage has caused plant stand reduction in some wheat fields. Corn is growing well with 1 to 3 leaves (collar method) developed. Field peas are growing well and development ranges from 5th to 9th node. Some canola fields seeded in the first half of May have struggled with emergence due to poor topsoil moisture as well as flea beetle feeding sometimes requiring more than one insecticide application.
Canola planted in the latter part of May are emerging well but areas with more rainfall have suffered crusting issues requiring reseeding in some cases. There are still canola acres being reseeded due to a variety of causes but should be below 10 per cent of acres and seed supplies should not be limiting to meet the demand. Canola staging varies from recently planted to rosette stage in the most advanced fields. Flax is growing well in the 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) tall. Sunflower is growing well at V4 to V6.
Soybean fields have emerged but some variability reported in areas with poor moisture conditions at seeding time. Stage varies from breaking ground for latest planted fields to second trifoliate. Herbicide applications have started on soybean fields. Dry bean planting is done and emergence is fairly uniform but a number of fields with coarser soils and poor ground cover have suffered sandblasting damage from the strong winds experienced later in the week. Damage is being assessed but most stands show sign of recovery. Overall seeding in the region is considered around 99 per cent complete, with only reseeding required in some areas.
Weed growth is evident with the warmer temperatures. In-crop herbicide applications are underway as crops progress into the proper development stages. Rain has delayed herbicide applications and strong winds are making spraying challenging. The improved soil moisture conditions and near normal temperatures forecasted this week should allow spraying operations to progress well.
Potatoes slow to emerge were given the boost they needed to finally break ground. Herbicide application and hilling is in full swing. Recent rains helped with soil moisture recharge and saving stored water.
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 continue to report zero or low counts of either pest. Bertha armyworm traps are being set up to monitor the emergence of this potential canola pest over the next few weeks. Flea beetle activity on canola is evident with warmer conditions and control measures applied where needed. Wireworm and cutworm activity has also been noticeable in a variety of crops. Grasshoppers are a concern in hay and pasture in the Portage area and producers are preparing to start controlling them while at an early stage.
With dugouts and water supplies lower than normal producers are considering options to improve water quality and conserve limited water resources. With the water development, funding announced there is interest to clean out existing dugouts, construct new ones or to drill a new well. Most cattle have been moved onto pasture but producers were concerned about grazing too early and impacting forage production. Hay and pasture growth has improved after the rainfall last week. The younger, better-fertilized alfalfa fields are up to 26 inches (66 cm) in height, starting to flower and grasses are heading out. First cut dairy quality hay cutting has started.
Recorded rainfall this week ranged from 7 to 35 mm across the Eastern region. Most areas had somewhere between 20 and 40 mm with reports coming in of up top 75 mm in isolated extreme cases. In areas where heavier events occurred, there was still a bit of standing water evident in low areas, with some ruts left behind sprayers. Above normal daytime and overnight temperatures with adequate moisture for growth resulted in rapid crop growth.
Most producers are finished seeding or have said they are not going to pursue reseeding canola anymore and deal with whatever thin crop remains. Winter wheat and fall rye is at head emergence to flowering. Spring cereals are at the 4- to 6-leaf stage with stem elongation. Corn is at the V4 to V5 stage. Field peas are reaching 10th node. Sunflowers are at the V3 stage. Canola is at the cotyledon stage on re-seeded acres and at the 3-leaf to rosette stage on original acres. Flax is at the stem extension stage. Soybean is at the cotyledon to unifoliate on re-seed acres and 2nd to 3rd trifoliate leaf stage on original crop.
Flea beetle damage to canola continues to be an issue with insecticide spraying ongoing. Some fields being sprayed multiple times to prevent further feeding damage. Producers continue to monitoring the flee beetle feeding pressure closely.
Herbicide spraying was ongoing this past week whenever producers got the chance. Temperatures this past week were not quite as high, which helped although there were days when farmers chose to stop for fear of herbicide injury on crops. Wind was becoming a challenge, particularly as the emphasis shifted to getting Liberty-tolerant canola sprayed. Cereal first post-emerge pass is about 80 per cent done. First pass on corn is about 80 per cent complete. Soybean first post emerge pass is about 40 per cent done. Canola is around 15 per cent done but changing rapidly at the moment with more progress being made. Sunflowers are about 50 per cent complete. Flax and field peas are done.
Most of the focus is on getting canola done. Getting the right conditions for spraying and product efficacy has been the challenge. With all the reseeding, canola herbicide spraying is going to be ongoing throughout June. Herbicide damage from spraying in unsuitable conditions became evident in some flax and oats fields during the reporting period.
Overall crop conditions are good with the greatest challenges in canola; it is primarily a flea beetle challenge now as the frost issues are overcome. Protecting younger crop is key along with trying to get weed control done before out of stage. Soil moisture levels are good to slightly excessive in a few spots right now. Farmer are not worried about soils with a small moisture surplus at this time, since it has alleviate earlier dryness concerns. Some growers are also dealing with post-emergent rolling of soybeans that could not be rolled after seeding.
With the rains across the region this past week, hay and pasture moisture levels are rated at 100 per cent adequate. Haying has begun in the southern districts of the region, however no haying yet further north. Dairy cattle haying may start soon because the grasses are maturing quicker than usual in this weather while the alfalfa growth and development was held back due to the earlier frosts. Hay and pasture growth still unsatisfactory but has improved a lot over the past week and producer stress levels have subsided a bit. Hay yields are estimated to be 60 per cent of the average first cut with hopes that it will be made up in second cut. Pastures that had not been damaged last year because of extreme overgrazing demonstrated better regrowth this week and feeding on pasture was reduced slightly, but still continues. Past rainfall did not benefit the few dugouts in the area, which remain close to empty. Quality of dugout water has also deteriorated. Most producers in the region supply livestock water from wells or fill dugouts from wells so dugouts condition are not a good indicator of available water supply. Overall, hay and pasture situation has improved but producers remain concerned about feed supplies going forward. Livestock water availability is rated as adequate.
Crops have generally improved over the region this past week, wherever moisture was received. Growth spurts have been observed in flax and new, fertilized alfalfa stands.
Canola is moving into the 3- to 4- leaf stage, but still is very stagey. Peas are looking good, while spring wheat is booting, and will soon reach flag leaf. Cereal crops are not consistent, with some uniform in density, while others are thin and patchy. Cornfields are stressed, and somewhat spindly, and may end up as silage.
Grassy weed growth has become obvious this past week, with green and yellow foxtail species emerging in all crops, and very noticeable in sunflowers.
Flea beetle injury is still evident on canola, and crops still need to grow past this stage. Severe feeding caused some crops that were not reseeded to be delayed. Grasshopper nymphs are feeding on some alfalfa-hay stands.
Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development would like to thank Ingrid Kristjanson for her detailed and thorough crop reporting on the Interlake region for the past several years. We wish her well on her retirement!