Farmers in the Red River Valley harvested a bumper crop, but it was the exception. Overall yields were below average.
Manitoba’s 2012 barley crop averaged 54 bushels an acre — 14 bushels higher than in 2011, but almost nine per cent lower than the 10-year average of 59, Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) data shows.
The provincial average yield doesn’t tell the whole story. Many Red River Valley farmers harvested a bumper crop of barley last fall, despite a year that was warmer and drier than normal.
In the RM of Montcalm, all barley varieties averaged 88 bushels an acre. That same rural municipality had the highest-averaging barley yield by variety — the six-row malting barley Celebration — at 89 bushels from 5,379 acres.
The Red River Valley RMs of Morris, Richot, Macdonald, Roland and Tache, averaged 84, 83, 80, 73 and 71 bushels an acre. Celebration was the highest-yielding barley in all of them averaging 83.75 bushels from 8,838 acres.
In fact, Celebration, which was grown mainly in the valley, had the highest average yield across Manitoba at 71 bushels from 35,622 acres.
In sharp contrast, barley yields suffered in the northwest where wet weather dominated. In the RM of Ethelbert, which received 138 per cent of normal precipitation early in the growing season, barley averaged just 14 bushels an acre.
Pam de Rocquigny, cereal specialist with Manitoba, Food and Rural Initiatives, says pockets of the Red River Valley received timely rains that probably boosted barley yields. Other crops generally yielded well in the valley too, she noted.
Wet conditions in the northwest hurt yields, de Rocquigny said.
“Barley doesn’t like wet feet,” she said.
In 2012 Manitoba farmers insured 483,130 acres of barley under the federal-provincial AgriInsurance program administered by MASC. That’s double the 231,076 insured in 2011 when excessive moisture contributed to a decline in plantings.
While barley plantings were up, they were still well below the 10-year average of 636,060 acres.
In 2009 Manitoba barley farmers harvested a record average yield of 73.6 bushels from 558,668 acres.
Although Celebration had the highest average yield in Manitoba, Conlon, a two-row feed barley, accounted for almost a quarter of Manitoba’s 2012 barley acres at 108,288. Conlon averaged 62 bushels an acre last year.
Newdale, a two-row malting barley, had the second-highest number of acres at 52,596, averaging 55 bushels.
Champion, a two-row feed, was third at 39,381 acres averaging 57 bushels.
AC Metcalfe, a two-row malting barley, had the fourth most acres at 36,271 and averaged 43 bushels an acre.
For more information on Manitoba’s 2012 crop yields see Yield Manitoba 2013 inserted in the Feb. 14, 2013 issue of the Manitoba Co-operator or go to http://www.mmpp.com/mmpp.nsf/mmpp_publications.html.