Last week began with sun and no rain; but multiple thunderstorm systems brought significant rainfall to areas already suffering from excess moisture stress over the weekend. The majority of the region received some level of precipitation. Areas like Miniota, Kenton, Russell and Hamiota, received the most. Crops are showing the effects of saturated soil conditions as most of fields have drowned out spots. Overall growing degree-days (GDD) are mostly normal to above normal in the region, but continuous dry weather conditions are needed to maximize crop potential. Much of the area is reporting some excess moisture level, while parts of the southwest corner are rated as adequate.
Fall Rye is turning colour. Crops looks average. There are reports of armyworm damage in cereals and producers are spraying for control. Winter wheat ranges from milky dough to soft dough stage. Spring wheat, barley and oats are growing well. Majority of fields are headed out and some late seeded are at stem elongation stage. Most cereals are handling excess moisture conditions well. Fungicide application is being done primarily by air, as ground conditions are not favorable in most of the region. Lodging is visible in some fields following strong winds.
Corn and sunflowers are growing rapidly. Most cornfields are at V5 to V7 stage. Field peas are at R2 to R3 stage. Well-drained fields are looking promising but fields with low spots are showing the effects of water stress as chlorosis and in some cases, root rot is occurring. Most peas had a fungicide spray for leaf disease. Crop rated as average to good.
Canola is in multiple growth stages. Most of early seeded crop is at full flowering to early pod formation stage. However, later seeded canola is in rosette to bolting stage. Quality of the crop is also variable depending on the moisture. Badly hit areas with low spots have showing the effect of moisture, as canola stand is very thin and nutrient deficiencies showing up from waterlogged soils. Crop quality ranges from poor to good. Farmers are considering spraying for sclerotinia, since risk factors are high but some still debating due to crop situation.
Soybean fields are handling heavy moisture conditions well. Most early seeded fields are at R1 to R2 stage. Late seeded crop is at V3-V4 stage. Iron-deficiency chlorosis (IDC) is improving with crop advancement. Herbicide applications are largely complete. Flax is looking good and is at early flowering stage.
Bertha armyworm numbers are high in Inglis area but still lower than economic threshold levels. Grasshoppers causing some damage in crops but still not at economic threshold level.
Haying has started across the Southwest, but several areas continue to receive showers making it difficult to bale high quality hay. Some silage is being done. Overall hay crop looks to be average to above average. Pastures have benefited from rain and are in good shape in many areas. Dugouts are full.
There was precipitation throughout the entire region last week along with temperatures nearing 30°C. Rainfall amounts were 27mm through Swan River, 43 mm around Dauphin and The Pas, 22mm at Fork River and Inglis with amounts in the mid-teens for the balance of the region. There is water pooling in low-lying areas and crop damage is evident where soils are saturated. There are reports of hail damage east of Roblin as well as in the southwest part of the Swan Valley. Soil moisture is adequate to surplus.
Spring cereals in the region are 90% in the heading/flowering growth stage. Cereals are generally in good condition although weed control has been a challenge. Winter wheat and fall rye are heading/flowering; winter wheat is in fair to good condition while fall rye is in excellent condition.
Hot weather and rainfall has advanced the canola this past week with 80 to 90% of the crop flowering. The staginess of canola continues within the region and, in many cases, within the same field. The canola crop condition ranges from poor to good; the crop is in somewhat better condition on the south end of the region. The soybean crop is flowering; 30% of the crop is still in the vegetative stage and is in good to fair condition. Flax and peas are in good condition. The peas are flowering with the earlier seeded fields starting pod.
Bertha armyworm monitoring is underway with highest numbers of moths in traps in Bowsman (283), Grandview (217 and 117), and Swan Valley (103) areas. These numbers are still in the “low risk” category but some are nearing the “uncertain risk” category of 300.
First cut beef hay harvest is underway, but putting up dry hay continues to remain a challenge with unstable weather. Quality is impacted where swaths have been rained on and yields across the region will be below normal. The later harvesting will also have a negative effect on second cut yields, particularly for producers that normally cut alfalfa crops before the August 15 critical fall harvest period. More progress occurred where producers put up alfalfa as baled or chopped silage. Alfalfa silage is reported as yielding approximately 65% of normal. Pasture conditions range from poor to good depending on rainfall amounts, the turnout date and how they were grazed last fall. Reports of armyworms and grasshoppers defoliating grasses in forage stands, with the latter having high enough populations to warrant spraying. Some producers also harvesting ditch hay to reduce upcoming winter feed supply shortages. Dugout levels are adequate.
Sunny warm conditions prevailed during the week with intermittent rain showers that brought precipitation ranging from 10mm in the Plumas, Gladstone to Bagot area to as much as 50 to 70 mm in the Morris, Winkler and Gretna areas. Most other parts of the region received 20 to 40mm rain.
Soil moisture conditions are rated as good for most of the region to excessive in areas where precipitation was more abundant. Some standing water in low-lying areas of fields that received higher rainfall. Crop is yellowing in those areas indicating excess moisture stress but damage to crops is limited given the size of areas affected.
Fall rye is turning color as it matures. Winter wheat is advancing into the seed filing stages. Cereal armyworm were found in many fall rye fields in the region reaching economic threshold levels. Growers applied control measures to prevent further damage where conditions warranted.
Wheat, barley and oats are growing rapidly and many fields are headed out or still heading out where planted later. Those crops are rated as good to excellent condition. With the recent precipitation and high humidity, fungicidal protectants are applied to many wheat and barley fields to prevent fusarium head blight. Due to the wetter field conditions, airplanes to apply fungicides are doing many applications. Lodging is visible in some cereal fields but limited to small areas. Corn is in the V5 to V9 stage and growing well with the favourable moisture and higher temperatures.
Field peas are growing well at flowering to early pod (R2 to R4). Fungicide applications to prevent blight are being done where conditions are favourable for disease development. Canola staging varies according to the seeding date and ranges from bolting for late planted or reseeded fields to flowering for many fields to podded in few cases. With favourable moisture and higher humidity, fungicide protectants are being applied by ground and by air to flowering canola fields for the prevention of sclerotinia. Soybean fields are flowering in the R1 to R3 stage. Edible beans are growing well and flowering. Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Chlorosis (IDC) is still visible in some soybean fields. Flax fields are few and starting to flower. Sunflowers are advancing well into the bud to head development R1 to R3.
The potato heat units (P-Days) are near 300 units and close to possible early blight infection inoculum is present. No late blight or early blight spores were trapped in spore trapping network. Earlier in the week, rains in western parts of potato growing areas brought cumulative close to normal. High temperatures (above 30°C) for the second week has resulted in heat stress and heat runners in many fields. Blackleg and stem rot are being reported from more fields.
Pheromone baited traps for bertha armyworm moths are in place to monitor the emergence of this canola pest. Accumulated trap counts are remain in the lower to uncertain risk range at this point. Grasshoppers are noticeable in many different fields and crops. Water and grass is plentiful for cattle on pasture. Yields on newer, well- managed hayfields are average while older hay fields are below average. Beef producers made a good start on haying and putting up round bale haylage last week. Dairy hay harvested earlier is of nice quality. Greenfeed and corn silage yields look promising. Recent rains have benefited crop and forage growth but areas north that received excess have standing water on pasture and lower lying native hay ground. There are many grasshoppers on hay and pasture where populations high last year.
Warm and humid conditions over the last week have continued to push along crop development. Rainfall accumulations for the period ranged from 10 to over 60mm occurring as localized moderate to severe thunderstorms. The bulk of accumulation for the week occurred yesterday with areas around Steinbach, St. Pierre, Gardenton, Marchand and Zhoda experiencing anywhere from 40 to over 60mm occurring as severe thunderstorms with heavy downpours and strong winds. Excess soil moisture has made haying and spraying difficult reducing forage yields and annual crop yield potential. At the same time, there are districts in the north region that would continue to benefit from additional rainfall. Soil moisture conditions on cropland, pastures and hayland were rated as mostly adequate with the exception of areas that have experienced severe thunderstorms where soil moisture conditions are surplus and excessive.
Final herbicide applications were completed last week. Fungicide applications for sclerotinia in canola and FHB in spring cereals were wrapping up this week with only late seeded or reseeded fields remaining. Spring cereals are mostly in the early milk stage while most canola ranged from 50 to 70% flowering with pods forming. Most soybeans were in the R2 flowering stage and some plants had started to pod. Corn was starting to tassel last week while sunflowers were in the R2 to R3 growth stages and most field peas were in the R3 growth stage. Overall crop conditions were rated as good outside of areas challenged by excess soil moisture, and crop conditions were seen as continuing to improve in the warm and humid conditions.
Grasshoppers and cereal armyworms remained the primary insect concerns last week with sporadic spraying continuing to occur. Populations vary widely from field to field, necessitating comprehensive scouting to make spray decisions. For grasshoppers, concerns have most often occurred in spring cereal and soybean fields. With cereal armyworms, concerns have most often occurred in grass forage seed and spring cereal fields as well as in alfalfa/grass hayland that armyworms have migrated. The presence of green cloverworm was noted in soybeans and scouting for insect problems continues in canola.
Haying was in full swing with most alfalfa or alfalfa grass hay cut and about 80% of first cut baled. Weather continued to make it challenging to put up dry hay. Yields were variable. Fields with excess moisture will result in yield reductions and delayed harvest. The quality of silage and baled hay was rated as good and yield reports for alfalfa/grass hay first cut ranged from 2500 to 3000 lbs/ac or 60% of normal. Second cut of pure stand alfalfa by dairy producers had started. Early yield reports suggested an improvement over first cut. Pastureland conditions continued to show improvement. Stands not put under intense grazing pressure this spring were rated as good although overgrazed stands were still rated as fair. Some beef producers were already anticipating being short feed for overwintering and were making arrangements with grain producers to purchase forage seed and cereal straw. Livestock water supply was rated as adequate with dugouts full.
Rapid crop advancement is evident with warm weather and high humidity. Temperatures were in to the high 20°C range, slightly cooler than the previous week. Minimal rainfall through the week until Sunday; rain came on Monday for most of the region. Rain was particularly welcome in those areas where ridges and lighter textured soils had moisture stress significant enough to have some premature shutdown of flowering and crop drydown. Although improvement is evident, much of the region continues to register lower than normal amounts of precipitation, with several stations at less than 50% of normal. Average temperatures for the past week hover around 20°C.
Crops are generally looking good. High temperatures and good moisture have allowed for rapid crop growth. Some of the drier areas that received rains 10 days to two weeks ago have seen big improvement. Cereals are looking terrific, other than some of the last seeded or reseeded fields; heads are starting to emerge. Spring wheat and barley are fully headed and flowered. Oats are close behind with most fields showing panicles fully emerged. Lodging is now evident to varying degrees in cereals after yesterday’s rain and wind. Fall rye has set seed and is starting to turn; harvest is anticipated as soon as two weeks from now. Timothy harvest is also about two weeks away. Poor crop survival has been reported for some fescue and brome. Peas are rated as excellent, with continued flowering in many fields. Fields that were on the drier side have seen a slow down in flowering, and smaller pods, but many look like they will have very good yields. Fababeans look good, still some flowering. Sunflowers are as advanced as R1 to R2. Canola is more of a disappointment – some fields look excellent with a nice even stand; others are thin and stagey, due to a number of earlier stresses, including frost injury, flea beetle damage, wind, crusting and poor germination in dry conditions. The earliest seeded fields are almost done flowering and are fully podded; majority of fields are in full bloom (50% and more) while late seeded fields have bolted and are flowering.
Soybeans have seen tremendous growth with heat and moisture, after having been stalled for 2 weeks or more. Plants are taller, and rows are filling in. Flowering continues; the more advanced crops are in the R1 to possibly as advanced as R2 in south parts of the region. Some pods are starting to form at the bottom of plants. Minimal signs of iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC) remain. Flax is in mid flower. Heat and moisture has been great for both grain and silage corn; all areas report rapid growth. Most of the crop looks better as compared to the same time last year. The first tassels have been reported in the southern part of the region. Leafcutters are out on seed alfalfa. Trefoil is podding well.
All but the tail end of herbicide applications is complete.
There have been reports of armyworms in a number of fields including perennial ryegrass, fescue and timothy, requiring insecticide treatment. Regular scouting has managed to keep additional damage in check. Increasing numbers of grasshopper hotspots are being reported throughout the region, and fields are being monitored carefully. Grasshoppers are moving off pasture and cut hay into annual crops. Reports to date are that grasshoppers are much worse than last year. All crops have been affected, including newly established alfalfa and forage grass seed fields. Head clipping is evident in some wheat fields.
Pasture and hayfields are being hit hard in the north part of the region. The poorest pastures are most affected. Some have had to spray headlands twice, and are concerned a third application may be required. Diamondback moth larvae can be found in canola; crop growth is sufficient that significant damage should not be a concern with the first generation of larvae. Bertha armyworm moth trap counts are increasing, but total numbers continue to be low.
Fungicide application in peas is complete. Fungicide treatment for most of the cereals is complete. Flax is being treated for pasmo. Fungicide treatment is currently ongoing but will not be as extensive in canola. Thinner crop stands, stagey stands and moisture levels insufficient for disease development will determine whether fungicide is applied. Most applications in all crops will be wrapped up shortly. Some producers have had to focus on insecticide applications for flea beetles and grasshoppers, and are foregoing fungicide.
Majority of pastures are rated in fair to poor condition, while some have improved enough to be rated good. Damage due to continuous grazing in times of poor growth makes it difficult for pasture in poor condition to recover. Native hay yields will be poor in most areas due to lack of rainfall. First cut hay is essentially complete. Although better than last year in many cases, yields will be below average for most. Well- fertilized fields have fared better. Regrowth is good where there has been rain, and some of the second cut will fair better, particularly dairy hay. In isolated areas, grasshoppers are causing significant damage to both grass hay and pasture. Isolated areas anticipate poor second cut beef hay due to both lack of moisture and grasshopper damage. While forage shortages are still anticipated, the outlook has improved quite dramatically. Livestock water supplies are currently adequate.