Winter cereals harvest half complete, yields seen mostly average

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for August 18

[UPDATED: Aug. 19, 2020]

Southwest Region

Unsettled weather continued in the Southwest. There are reports of a tornado that touched down near the village of Alexander but no reports of any loss. Wind damage to crops as lodging is visible in some fields. Canola, wheat and other crops are suffering with minor lodging especially in the pathways of these storms. Rain amount is variable and widespread. Almost whole region got some kind of moisture. The majority of producers welcome rain now as some crops have started to show signs of heat stress. Southern areas received more rain as compared to areas in the north of the TransCanada. Wawanesa got 47mm, Sinclair 40mm, and Shilo area got 58mm over the last week. Other parts of the region received 10 to 30mm. Rain is very beneficial for longer season crops like soybean, corn and sunflower, but canola is benefitting as rain aids the ripening process. Cereals and peas need hot and dry weather at this stage as harvest begins in earnest. Winter wheat harvest is continues, while fall rye harvest is done. Yields are variable, ranging from 70 to 80 bu/ac with good quality.

Canola is progressing well, later seeded or re-seeded crops finished flowering, with a few exceptions due to high moisture conditions or very late seeding. Bertha armyworm and Diamondback moth levels look to be low at this time.

Most of producers are planning pre- harvest applications on spring wheat. No major harvest done yet as the majority of fields still have green stems. Barley harvest continues in southern districts, and yield reports are above average.

Soybeans are in R5 stage as upper most pods start to fill nicely. Most of crop looking promising this year as timely moisture is essential for beans to get the maximum yield potential. Volunteer canola is an issue in those fields, which could not get the second pass of glyphosate due to wet weather conditions.

Peas are ready to harvest in most areas, with desiccation complete. This week rains put some producers on hold during early in the week. There are few reports of harvest peas in lighter soils and near Pierson.

Flax is progressing well and are at dry down stage of development. There are no diseases or insect issues. Only weeds are the major problem in some fields.

Corn is at blister-R2 to milk-R3 stage of development. Recent large rains and heat are favoring timely developments and most of crop has good yield potential. Sunflowers are advancing well and majority of the fields are at (5.8 to 5.9) growth stage. Crop is getting benefit of hot and moist weather conditions.

There are reports of grasshoppers many areas. Flea beetles are also present on mature canola crops but no reports of economic damage.

Second cut hay is being made, with average yields expected. Cereal silage is being done, with average to above average yields. Pastures are doing well. Corn silage looks to be average to above average. There is adequate supply of feed and straw in the Southwest region this year as recent rains are helping pasture green up. Dugouts are adequately full and moisture in hay and pasturelands is adequate.

Northwest Region

Temperatures hovered near 30 C throughout the week, which continued to advance the crop in the Northwest region. The weekend brought wind and thundershowers. Soil moisture is adequate for the most part, although there are some very dry areas in the south east of the region that missed the rain showers.

There have not been significant harvest operations in the Northwest last week other than an initial start to field peas. Spring wheat and cereals are mostly in the dough stage with some earlier seeded fields in the firm dough stage. Barley is turning and is very close to harvest condition in the southern part of the region. Winter wheat and fall rye are ripening and are very close to maturity, with some green tillers.

The canola crop is podded with the earlier seeded fields starting to turn colour and the latest seeded fields almost through flowering. Some fields around Russell are further advanced. Soybeans are at about R3 stage and pods are filling. Field peas are podded and the crop is ripening. Desiccation of field peas is taking place as conditions allow and correct staging is reached. There has been a start to field pea harvest around Swan River with about 3% of the crop harvested. Peas are further advanced around Roblin and more progress is has been made with about 50 per cent of the peas combined. The flax crop is in the boll development stage.

Last weeks showers benefitted pastures and second-cut alfalfa-hay fields. Second cut alfalfa-hay growth looks good but producers should wait until after a killing frost to harvest/graze to respect the critical fall harvest period and not to risk winter survival. Cereal silage harvest is ongoing with average yields and baling of pea straw starting this week. Pastures are in poor to good condition depending on management and stocking density. Water levels are rated low to sufficient. Grasshoppers are still a concern in Ethelbert and west of Gilbert Plains. A feed shortage is anticipated in some areas of the region and producers are sourcing straw and other feeds to supplement hay.

Central Region

Sunny, warm and dry conditions prevailed during the first part of the week. A band of thundershowers travelled across the region on Thursday bringing 7 to 75 mm of precipitation. Much of the central portion of the region received a welcome 10 to 15mm but the southeast corner around Morris and Altona received as much as 75 mm leaving some water ponding in low- lying area of fields. The areas along and north of the TransCanada received 25 to 40mm of precipitation greatly improving soil moisture conditions for that area. Nighttime temperatures cooled down to the mid-teens to high single digits combined with heavy dews on many mornings. Crops are holding reasonably well with the current moisture and temperature conditions.

Fall rye is ripe and harvest is wrapping up for this crop with yields reported in the 90 to 100 bu/ac range. High levels of ergot reported in the Gladstone area with yields near 80 bu/acre. Harvested fields are being harrowed to break up and distribute crop residue. Winter wheat harvest is also underway with yields reported in the 60 to 70 bu/ac range.

Wheat, barley and oats are maturing rapidly to fully ripe. Many wheat fields in the Portage area and in the Red River Valley appear ripe and ready to be harvested, but have been slightly tough moisture content. Earliest planted barley fields are swathed or harvested with many more looking ripe. Harvest of barley fields is underway with early reported yields ranging from 70 to 100 bu/ac and good quality. Many oat fields nearing swath timing in the Red River Valley where harvest has begun with first reported yields in the 110 to 120 bu/ac range. Swathing of cereals and harvest progress is expected to pick up in the coming week, as many fields are mature. Straw is being harvested on many harvested cereal grain fields. Cereals are standing up well and maturing evenly. Fusarium head blight symptoms are showing up in barley and wheat but the severity appears low. Most cornfields are in the kernel development (R2) to grain filling (R3/R4) stage. Corn crops are looking well with the reasonable soil moisture and warmer temperatures.

Swathing of canola fields is underway for earliest planted canola fields while pod shatter resistant varieties remain standing for direct harvest. Minimum harvest of canola so far and no reported yields. No major insect outbreaks reported so far. Verticillium wilt symptoms are reported in quite a few canola fields from ongoing disease surveys. Agronomists continue to scout for clubroot with multiple new fields being confirmed. Flax fields are few and finished flowering as bolls develop. The flax crop looks good and standing up well. Sunflowers are finishing flowering in the R5.9 to R6 stage with seed developing.

Field peas are advancing in maturity with some later planted fields still showing a few flowers (R4) but most are more mature and some harvested. Pre-harvest products are being applied to many fields as the crop reaches maturity. Yield reports for the earliest harvested fields fall in the 60 to 80 bu/ac range with the greatest proportion of field peas harvested in the Gladstone area.

Soybean fields are in the beginning seed (R5) to full seed (R6) seed stage. Soybeans are benefitting from this last rain during this sensitive seed development stage. No economical reports of soybean aphids.

Edible beans are also growing well and many fields in the valley are starting to turn. Some white mold being spotted and reported in fields around the region.

Second cut alfalfa/grass occurring with yields ranging from 800 to 1400 lbs/acre hay. Pastures going dormant due to dryness and moderate to severe grasshopper pressure. Annuals for green feed and silage being harvested with mediocre to average yields. Corn for silage looking promising; most crops past 6 tons/ac wet mark. Native hay and roadside hay being cut and baled with yields ranging from 600 to 2500 lbs/ac dry.

Eastern Region

Since last Tuesday, rainfall accumulations in the Eastern region ranged from about 30mm to as much as 100mm occurring as thunderstorms over the past weekend. Temperatures moved from above seasonal before the rainfall to seasonal afterwards. Overall, soil moisture conditions on cropland were rated as 85 per cent adequate and 15 per cent short for those areas that received the lower amounts of weekend rainfall. Pasture and hayland soil moisture conditions were rated as about 80 per cent adequate and 20 per cent short. While the weekend rainfall delayed the start of harvest for many producers, most were very happy it arrived as the rain is expected to benefit warm season crops that are now in the midst of reproductive growth stages. Given that most fields were very dry, little standing water in fields was observed and producers were able to restart harvesting operations on Monday.

Across the region, winter wheat harvest was about 80% complete. Initial yield reports ranged from 65 to 75 bu/acre with good quality. Spring cereal harvest was only about 10% complete with producers hoping to make rapid progress this week. Initial reports of 60 to 65 bu/acre for spring wheat were received. Canola maturity was noted as varying widely this year. Some canola fields had been swathed and pre-harvest herbicide applications were ongoing with about 50 per cent of canola slated for a pre-harvest herbicide sprayed so far. Soybean growth stage ranged from late R5 to mid R6. Wilting and symptoms of transient drought- induced potassium deficiency were declining. A few reports of spider mites in soybeans had been received and scouting was continuing. Grasshopper defoliation in soybeans at below threshold levels was also noted. The rapid advance of the crop to the R6 growth stage was limiting concerns with defoliation. Corn was in the milk stage while sunflowers ranged from the late R5 (flowering) to R6 growth stages. Field pea harvest was almost complete. Yield reports ranged from 60 to 80 bu/ac with good quality.

Across the Eastern region, producer progress on second-cut beef hay ranged from about 20 per cent done to complete with yields ranging from 50 per cent below average to average with good quality. In southern districts that had experienced extensive flooding earlier in the season, producers were having a very difficult time getting feed put up. Third cut alfalfa dairy hay harvest had started. Pasture conditions ranged from fair to good with areas that received the lowest rainfall accumulations seeing limited improvement in pasture conditions. Producers remained concerned about feed supplies for overwintering, making arrangements with grain producers to purchase straw. Baling of forage seed and winter wheat straw was ongoing. Livestock water supply was adequate for those using wells, able to pump from rivers or in areas that received higher rainfall accumulations that allowed dugouts to refill. Dugouts in lower rainfall areas saw limited improvement and ranged from almost empty to 50 per cent full.

Interlake Region

Harvest continues, with minimal delays following recent rains. Precipitation continues to be extremely variable with scattered thundershowers. Teulon and Lake Francis and south received significant rainfall, with amounts ranging from 30 to 50mm. Individual reports of up to 65mm. Further north, Inwood received 16mm; all other areas were under 8mm and most less than 5 mm. Crops continue to advance quickly. Temperatures reached up to 30°C last week, with average temperatures of 17°C to 19°C.

While rains have been beneficial for later maturing crops, hay and pasture in the south, much of the region continues to register significantly lower than normal rainfall amounts. Crop yields will be impacted, but there have been positive results to date. While most crops are past benefiting from rain, it is much needed, especially in the northern part of the region for fill in later maturing crops, as well as to replenish hay land and pasture.

Crops have continued to look better than rainfall amounts would indicate, but premature ripening is noticeable, especially on lighter textured soils. Drought stress symptoms in soybeans and corn have been relieved somewhat with rains in the south, but there are reports of early maturing soybeans shutting down due to dry conditions. Crop yields are variable; higher yields are the result of an extra rain or two.

Even 50mm of rain only slowed harvest operations for a day or two. Cereals are changing rapidly, with drydown applications and swathing ongoing. Winter wheat yields reported to date in the 50 to 65 bu/ac range, with significant stresses last fall and this spring. Barley harvest is advancing well, with yields to date ranging from 60 to 110 bu/ac. Spring wheat harvest continues; yields reported in the 50 to 95 bu/ac range. Harvest should be widespread by next week. Early oat harvest at 90 to 130 bu, with some reported as light; swathing continues. Most of the fall rye harvest is complete with yields to date ranging from 60 to 100 bu/ac. Higher yields in hybrid varieties for the most part. Lower yields of hybrids were still a nice surprise, due to extremely dry conditions.

Straw is being baled immediately following cereal harvest.

The majority of the forage grass seed harvest is complete. Yields are reported as poor to average, from 50 to 400 lbs/ac. Armyworm damage was more significant in some fields than first thought. Trefoil harvest continues, also poor to average, ranging from 100 to 600 bu/ac. Flowering in alfalfa seed fields is complete to mostly complete.

Pea harvest continues, earlier than anticipated due to dry conditions. Yields are good, ranging from 45 to 85 bu/ac. An average of 55 to 60 bu/ac is anticipated. Sunflowers are at full bloom, ranging from R5.5 to R5.7. Seed colour change in earlier seeded canola varieties is evident. As much as 50% of drydown applications is complete. Early harvest reports in the mid 30 bu/ac range. Agronomists report aborted pods due to heat and drought stress. Some seed is small and will be lost at harvest. Swathing continues and is becoming more widespread. Flax is maturing and changing colour. Soybeans have seen tremendous growth with heat and moisture. Flowering continues; most fields are R5 to R6. Drought stress symptoms are more evident, especially on lighter textured soils, and premature ripening is becoming more common. In the driest areas, short season varieties are shutting down; rain has helped later maturing varieties in the south. Grain and silage corn have grown significantly in the last month. Fill will likely be impacted by lack of precipitation, although cob size is good. In the north part of the region, higher silage yields are expected in eastern areas.

Insecticide applications are generally complete, as crops get closer to maturity. Grasshoppers are still a concern, and are moving as crops are harvested. No reports of soybean aphids. Some high flea beetle numbers reported on volunteer canola.

Increased acres of greenfeed oats, millet and cereal mixes were seeded. Cutting and baling continues. Yields are expected to be good, and will help to supplement alfalfa and grass hay supplies. Early rains in some areas of the northeastern and southwestern parts of the region have resulted in very good hay yields. The recent rain has made some more hopeful of a second cut, but many fields do not have enough growth to warrant cutting, particularly older stands.

Rains have improved pastures, but some have declined to the point where producers are taking cattle off, and feeding. Cumulative effects of successive dry years are taking a toll. Native hay yields will be poor in most areas; sloughs are dry for the most part. 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. Fields cut in the last month are seeing little to no regrowth in many areas due to lack of rain; second cut beef and third cut hay will be limited. Forage shortages are anticipated. Livestock water is adequate for most. A few isolated reports of water being hauled.

[UPDATE] The headline previously read that the overall cereal harvest was half complete, when this only applied to the winter cereals harvest. The Co-operator editors apologize for any confusion.

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