Manitoba farmers are seeing above-average spring cereal and pea yields and average to below-average canola yields so far this harvest, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development (MARD) extension specialists from four of Manitoba’s five regions said last week.
As of Sept. 8 spring wheat yields were ranging from 45 to 100 bushels an acre, the specialists told MARD’s Crop Talk webinar Sept. 9, despite lower-than-normal moisture in many areas.
In the Central region wheat was yielding 50 to 100 bushels an acre, said Rejean Picard who is based in Somerset. He guesses they’ll average between 60 and 79.
Teulon-based Ingrid Kristjanson said wheat is expected to average 55 to 65 bushels an acre in the Interlake.
Terry Buss, who works out of Beausejour, put wheat yields in the Eastern region at 55 to 70 bushels.
The provincial 10-year average hard red spring wheat insured yield is 53 bushels an acre.
“Overall cereals are a good news story for us out here and people are generally quite pleased,” Buss said. “Canola, not so pleased.”
Eastern region canola yields are ranging from 25 to 50 bushels an acre, but are expected to be average overall, he said.
Central region canola is expected to average 40 to 45 bushels an acre and 35 to 40 in the Interlake.
The provincial 10-year average insured canola yield is 38 bushels an acre.
“People aren’t pleased overall (with canola),” Buss said. “We’ve had some just incredible yield the last two years so it’s all relative to past experience. I’m getting a lot of folks who aren’t happy. It’s not a disaster, but it’s not pleasing.”
While Buss thinks it’s mainly because of hot, dry weather during flowering and early pod set, many farmers blame cutworms, flea beetles and grasshoppers, he said.
Strong winds across much of southern Manitoba, including the Eastern region, blew canola swaths around Sept. 6.
“Some of it’s pretty bad and it’s going to take a lot to sort out,” Buss said.
Canola swaths were scattered by wind in the Interlake too and farmers are reporting some pods fell off pod shatter-resistant varieties, Kristjanson said.
“We are anticipating 35 to 40 bushels (for canola),” she said. “Not the best and a little bit disappointing, but given the year pretty decent. There were lots of thin crops because of all those early-season pressures and insect pressures, lack of rain, so all things considered it’s pretty good.”
In addition to good wheat yields in the Interlake, the quality is also excellent.
“Since we’ve had some of the rains there has been some bleaching but the quality is still good,” Kristjanson said. “The proteins are decent at 12.5 to 14.5 (per cent) and those lower proteins are on some of those higher yields.”
Oat and pea yields are above average in the Interlake so far too. Some farmers harvested 160 bushels an acre, but the average is expected to be 100 to 120, she said.
“Talking to most guys they are thrilled with what they did get based on how the crop looked,” given rainfall was well below normal, Kristjanson said.
The provincial 10-year average for insured oats is 97 bushels an acre.
“Pea yields were also generally pretty good,” she added. “People were probably averaging in the 60-bushel range so quite pleased with that.”
Eastern region farmers, who were 90 per cent finished harvesting oats as of Sept. 8, had yields of 100 to 130 bushels an acre, Buss said.
“We’re not having some of the bin-busting yields we’ve had from time to time… the 150s or 160s are illusive…” he said. “Quality is good, but (there is) variability in bushel weight.”
Pea harvest in the Eastern region wrapped up in August.
“The yield range was impressive overall — 60 to 80 bushels an acre,” Buss said. “Quality was excellent.”
The provincial 10-year average for insured peas is 41 bushels an acre.
Corn crops have been looking good in the Central and Eastern regions, but need more rain in some places.
“The corn is looking OK so far,” Buss said, but it’s stressed due to insufficient moisture.
“We’ve seen worse when it comes to drought… We’ve had worse years than this. So we’re kind of mixed for our outlook for corn.”
Corn in the Interlake is drying down, Kristjanson said.
“We expect to see some poorer yields because of all that drought stress and heat stress,” she said. “(Seed) fill hasn’t been all that great in some fields. So hopefully we’ll get some good surprises, but people are tempering what they are expecting.”
Picard predicted average to slightly above-average yields for soybeans in the Central region.
In the Interlake soybeans have been ripening quickly.
“Leaves are dropping fast,” Kristjanson said. “There has been a big change in the last week to 10 days. We’re hoping that the yields will be decent. We’re thinking that probably the early-maturing ones will be the most disappointing because of lack of rain. This year some of the later-maturing ones, hopefully will do better.”