Late spring to reduce Man. soybean acres

CNS Canada — Manitoba farmers won’t likely seed as many soybean acres as they originally intended this year, as the late spring and wet fields will force some to switch to another crop.

Most of the soybean acres will likely be planted in the main growing regions of the province, such as the Red River Valley — but non-traditional regions will probably plant fewer acres than originally intended, said Dennis Lange, crop production advisor with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.

Statistics Canada’s April planting intentions report called for 1.3 million acres of soybeans in Manitoba this spring, but Lange doesn’t think there will be that many.

“We are going to probably still be over a million (acres), but won’t be quite at 1.3 million. It will be somewhere in that middle ground,” he said.

Crop insurance dates are looming, with some parts of the province needing acres seeded by May 30 to receive full coverage, and other areas having until June 6. [Related story]

Farmers can also plant until June 4, if their deadline is May 30, for 20 per cent-reduced coverage, or until June 11 if their deadline is June 6.

Some farmers may decide to plant during those reduced insurance deadlines, while others may find it too risky, Lange said.

“When it’s all said and done, some growers who will be planting a few acres might be more willing to take a risk than the growers that are planting lots of acres,” he added.

Those who choose to switch to another crop will likely plant canola or shorter-cycle oilseed or wheat varieties, Bruce Burnett of CWB said in a recent crop report.

The soybean crops that do get planted this spring will likely get off to a good start, as good soil moisture levels should benefit the crop.

The warm soil seen in the province recently will also help the beans come out of the ground fairly quickly, Lange said.

“They’re going to be popping a little bit quicker, which means the plant is also going to be a little bit healthier,” he added.

Once the plants emerge, growers will focus on weed control, and will start scouting for disease and insect problems, though they don’t usually cause issues for soybeans.

There were root rot concerns last year, as well as the appearance of white mold, but it’s a little too early to worry about that yet, Lange said.

“There are other diseases that do show up, but typically none of any economic concern, it’s just that you can find it in the field,” he said. “But soybeans are pretty resilient for the most part.”

— Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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