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Wet conditions delaying Manitoba harvest, fertilizer applications

Sunny forecast is just what many farmers need

Too wet.

That sums up conditions on many Manitoba farms as of Nov. 3 when the Keystone Agricultural Pro­ducers (KAP) held its advisory council meeting here.

But that was before Mother Nature treated much of the province to a weekend of record-breaking temperatures, sunshine and wind. And as of press time Monday warmer-than-normal, sunny weather was forecast for the rest of the week.

It’s needed. Many KAP district representatives, especially from western and northwestern regions, said there was still a lot of crop to harvest, field work to do and fertilizer to apply.

“It’s a bad situation,” said Foxwarren farmer George Graham. “It’s very wet.”

He estimated less than 20 per cent of the fertilizer applied by this time last year has been put on in his area. Graham said he hopes the Manitoba government will extend the Nov. 10 deadline for applying fertilizer and manure.

KAP is working on that, president Dan Mazier said.

KAP has been successful in getting past extensions. The deadline’s intent is to stop fertilizer and manure from being applied on frozen fields, making nutrients susceptible to running off and polluting lakes.

Minto farmer Bill Campbell said his fields were so wet there’s a 70 per cent chance they’ll be too wet to seed next spring.

Later in an interview Campbell said he isn’t worried about a lot of snow this winter. Any meltwater will run off because his soil is already saturated from three feet of rain during the 2016 growing season.

“My concern is if we get a two-inch rain on the 4th of May after it tries to dry up, we are done,” Campbell said.

“I honestly believe we are worse than we were in the fall of 2010 and we all know what happened in 2011.

“Out of 1,800 acres we sowed 60.”

That year in Manitoba three million acres didn’t get seeded due to excessive moisture.

There was a bountiful hay crop this year, but the quality suffered, due to rain, Henry Nelson, vice-chair of the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association told the meeting. As a result there’s less dairy-quality hay for export.

Excessive moisture hurt some pastures, which will have to be reseeded, he added.

Cattle yards are a mess with mud and calves are getting sick, said Wawanesa farmer Simon Ellis.

Many farmers have high levels of vomitoxin in their wheat due to fusarium head blight and excessive moisture, he said.

There were some good yields, including for wheat in District 3 — south-central Manitoba — said Winkler farmer Dustin Krahn. But vomitoxin is a problem, especially in the Faller and Prosper varieties, he said.

Dugald farmer Edgar Scheurer described his area as “swamp-like.” Nevertheless, harvest conditions went well for earlier-maturing crops, he said. However, for some, canola yields were disappointing, especially in comparison to soybeans. As a result Scheurer expects farmers in his area will grow more soybeans in 2017 and less canola.

Scheurer said canola yields varied from 17 to 50 bushels an acre with an estimated average yield at 30. But some soybean fields yielded 60 bushels an acre. He stimated they will average 45 to 48 bushels.

About the author

Reporter

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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