Another cool and wet week in the Southwest region. Rainfall was variable but enough to stop harvesting many days. Harvest operations resumed late Sunday into Tuesday. Harvest is about 60 per cent complete in general. Majority of areas south of #1 highway are close to 65 to 70 per cent done, while some pockets further along. North of the Trans-Canada 50 to 55 per cent done but areas near Highway 16 and south of Highway 45 are only 30 to 45 per cent complete.
Canola is ready for harvest, and yields are modest at 40 to 50 bu/ac. Losses have been noted in both swathed and standing canola due to wind and hail. Most producers are harvesting canola at high moisture levels, which needs to be dried later.
Spring Wheat is 85 per cent harvested. A considerable amount of standing wheat remains in northern parts of the region. Producers are harvesting standing canola before spring wheat due to grain moisture content and crop value. Some oat fields are still unharvested and are severely lodged. Oat harvest is 95 per cent complete. Barley is 98 per cent done.
Soybeans are at or very near maturity. Harvest is expected to start today. Most varieties are now at late R8 stage and ready to harvest. There are very few acres done in some southern areas of the region.
Corn is at dent stage (R5). Plants are starting to dry down. Some talk of silage resuming soon but field access for wagons is an issue. Very few acres have been harvested as silage to date. No reports of any grain corn harvest yet. Sunflowers are at R8 and entering R9 drydown. Head rot is occurring on the crop, and there are concerns around lodging and seed loss.
Soil moisture is rated as 100 per cent adequate to surplus. Dugouts are at 85 per cent capacity. Runoff starting to occur, some creeks are starting to flow again, low spots have standing water. A few combines have become stuck in the muck.
Pastures are green but short. Hay has gone dormant. Baling straw is done. Plenty of volunteer crops in the fields. Some farmers are attempting to finish baling greenfeed today.
The overall situation in the Southwest remains much the same. Rain on Saturday ensured that fields remain wet and forecasted rain and snow starting on October 9 will keep producers out of the fields. Some cattle are starting to go to market; however, soft roads and pastures have made hauling difficult. Most cattle remain on pasture. Hay and straw can be found on sales boards but asking prices remain high.
Variable harvest conditions prevailed last week with cooler overnight temperatures (frost most mornings), intermittent showers fell, as well as some good harvest weather with temperatures hitting 20°C. The rain was mostly trace amounts with the exception of 15 to 20 mm around Ste. Rose/Laurier and Alonsa. These rain showers made harvest progress a challenge, however producers are managing to advance the harvest with overall progress estimated at 85 per cent complete.
Spring wheat harvest is 95 per cent complete with some wheat crops standing and waiting for dry down while producers move on to canola fields. Spring wheat yields at Roblin and The Pas are in the range of 60 to 90 bu/ac, around Swan River yields are 50 to 75 bu/acre. Most of the wheat harvested this week is coming off at high moisture and is being dried and/or aerated.
The canola crop is either swathed or standing for straight combining. The canola harvest advanced with overall progress at 80 per cent complete in the region. Harvest conditions were especially challenging this week around Swan River as snow last week knocked the crop down and high winds scattered swaths. Canola harvest at The Pas is 65 per cent complete. Reported yields in the region are in the 40 to 60 bu/ac range with some fields around Swan River hitting 70bu/acre. The killing frosts have ended growth of the soybean crop, however very few soybean fields are harvested; the estimate is 5 per cent for the region. With the exception of a few fields around Dauphin area, the harvest of field peas is generally complete in the region. There is a wide range of reported yields, 40 to 80 bu/ac, yields are higher where moisture was adequate through the growing season. Combining of winter wheat and fall rye is complete. Oats are close to 100 per cent harvested around Roblin and 75 per cent complete at Swan River. As for flax, 100 per cent of the crop remains standing. Where soil moisture conditions are suitable, post harvest operations are well underway and some anhydrous applications are occurring.
Baling of straw continued this week where conditions allowed and straw hauling for feed and bedding continuing as well. Still some late seeded greenfeed crops to be harvested when weather conditions are suitable. Frequent
frosts have halted growth in pastures and hay fields for the year. With pasture conditions deteriorating, supplementation has started, particularly in continuously grazed pastures. Nitrates can be a concern in late seeded standing greenfeed crops and in annual regrowth that producers had planned to use for extending grazing with the recent cold temperatures. Second cut has started on alfalfa and alfalfa/grass fields that have sufficient regrowth to warrant cutting. Corn silage harvest continues where field conditions allow, with early yields reported between 13 to 18 tons/ac. Corn silage harvest is about 25 to 30 per cent complete. Dugouts are now 50 to 60 per cent full.
Rainy, cool weather limited harvest to a few partial days this week and into Monday. Precipitation was widespread across region ranging from a low of 12 mm to high of 23 mm. Harvested grain is usually tough and must be put on aeration or dried before longer-term storage. Soil moisture remains rated as good to excessive with the recent rains. The slow rate of rainfall allowed for good infiltration of the water but the cumulative rains have caused water to pond in low-lying areas of fields and filling up ditches.
Daytime temperatures remained cool combined with cloudy conditions keeping humidity high. Frost was reported in many locations west of the escarpment. Forecast for this week is one warmer, windy day, followed by cooling wet conditions turning to snow, which is expected to stall field operations once again.
Overall harvest is estimated at 75 to 80 per cent complete. Harvest of wheat, oats and barley is considered done in the Red River
Valley and nearly complete west of the escarpment. Spring wheat yields in the Red River Valley are reported in the 50 to 80 bushels per acre, with low FDK while on the escarpment yields are in the 60 to 90 bu/ac with low but some FDK. Earliest harvested wheat is of good grade. Reported protein levels vary from 14 to 15.5 per cent. Harvested barley yielded in the 80 to 120 bu/ac range with low vomitoxin. Oats yields are reported in the 100 to 135 bu/ac range.
Most tillage and manure applications are delayed due to wet field conditions. Some selected fields are suitable to do some tillage and to apply manure. Volunteer grain regrowth is evident having good germination conditions. Emergence of planted winter cereals is slow due to the cool temperatures but uniform with the abundant moisture.
Much of the corn is in the hard dough stage. Most advanced corn crops are dented and nearing physiological maturity. Some early reports of corn harvested in the Carman to Morden area. Silage corn harvest continues where field access is possible. Some poorer fields destined for grain are being harvested as silage.
Soybeans are in the R8 or full maturity and ready to be harvested. Selected fields were harvested on Monday as strong southerly winds helped to dry crops. Yield reports are 30 bu/ac in the Red River Valley and considered below average. There were reports of pod shelling due to a variety of reasons including stem blight, wet-dry cycle of the last few weeks and earlier hail damage. In cases where the pod has opened black lesions may be found on seeds, affecting grain quality.
Field pea harvest is done, yielding 40 to 65 bu/ac with good quality grain. No field beans were harvested last week and harvest progress for this crop type remains at 35 per cent. Average yields are 1500 to 1800 lbs/ac. Quality is expected to be affected, especially cut beans, and compounded by the dirt tag on the seed given the wetter harvest conditions. Field beans are being harvested tough and need careful attention when dried before going into storage.
Canola yields range from 25 to 55 bu/ac due to seasonal moisture variations. Above the escarpment, canola harvest is 70 to 75 per cent done with 45 bu/ac average yield. Standing canola has dried faster than swathed fields and can be harvested sooner and at lower moisture content. Sprouting is reported at significant levels in swathed canola and will affect yield and quality. Flax is ripe and harvest advanced with 25 to 35 bu/ac yields reported to date. Sunflower is mature with some harvest started in the Red River Valley.
Commercial potato harvest continues but has slowed with the wet conditions. Reports of 40 to 60 per cent harvest complete in different areas.
Above average rainfall in September has recharged soil moisture on crop, hay and pasture land. Forages benefitted most from the fall rains. Second and third cut hay fields and pastures have greened up and are providing fall grazing. This will be limited as cooler weather and frost will end the fall growth soon. Re-growth has been affected by the earlier dry conditions.
Corn silage harvest is underway where fields are dry enough to support machinery. Overall, hay production is below average due to the dry conditions this spring and summer. Hauling of hay and straw has been delayed due to the wet soils. The quality of cut feed has deteriorated and has been difficult to bale. Early tests of greenfeed are showing signs of nitrates from drought or frost stress.
Rainfall accumulations for the week across the Eastern Region ranged from 15 mm to over 40 mm. With most days being cool and cloudy last week, very little field drying occurred. Rainfall amounts were highest in southern districts with flooding happening in these areas that have received between 100 and 250 mm of rain over the past month. Reports of quarter sections of pasture and standing crop under a foot of water have been received. No significant progress in harvesting or fieldwork was made. Most producers will be trying to do some harvesting today given the poor weather forecasted. Significant levels of head rot in sunflowers were noted in some fields. Occasional light frosts occurred in most districts of the Eastern Region over the last week. Soil moisture conditions across the region were rated as 100 per cent surplus for cropland as well as for hay and pasturelands.
Across the region, spring wheat harvest was almost complete with an average yield of around 65 bu/acre. Quality on the remaining wheat harvested had degraded significantly due to sprouting and mildew. Protein levels remained mixed with reports ranging from 11 per cent to greater than 14.5 per cent. Oats harvest was also almost complete with an average yield of over 100 bu/acre. Quality on the remaining oats harvested had degraded significantly due to mildew. Barley harvest was complete with an average yield of 70 bu/acre. Increased head breakage and head loss in the remaining barley crop was noted. Most of the cereal acres left to harvest were in northern districts. Canola harvest was 90 per cent complete with an average yield of 45 bu/ac and good quality. Most of the remaining acres to harvest were in northern districts. Soybean harvest had just begun with less than 10 per cent of acres done. Early yield reports ranged from 30 to 40 bu/ac with good quality. Corn silage harvest was approximately 15 per cent complete with yields of 15 to 20 tons/ac and rainfall continuing to delay progress. Overall harvest progress for the region was approximately 70 per cent complete.
Corn was at the brown to black layer stage indicating that some hybrids have reached physiological maturity. Another week without a killing frost in many areas has allowed the corn to continue maturing. Soybean crops were in R8 (95 per cent brown pod and drying down) with most crops harvest ready if harvesting was possible. Sunflowers were in the R9 growth stage with desiccation ongoing whenever weather conditions were suitable.
Areas short of feed have now had problems exacerbated due to concerns around not being able to get corn silage harvested. Some producers will try to take one last cut after alfalfa critical period is over. Supplement feeding was happening on pastures.
Pasture conditions were rated as 30 per cent good, 40 per cent fair and 30 per cent poor. Availability of livestock water was rated as 100 per cent adequate. Winter feed supplies were rated as 60 per cent adequate for hay, 80 per cent adequate for straw, 70 per cent adequate for greenfeed, and 80 per cent adequate for feed grain.
Scattered showers and cloud cover through the week, followed by 15 to 30 mm rain overnight Friday continue to limit harvest progress. Shorter days and heavy dews have also impacted harvest operations. Sun and wind allowed combines back into the fields on Monday, helping to wrap up canola acres and get in to soybeans. Pasture and hayfields have greened up with all the precipitation. Producers are scrambling to get as much harvest done as possible before the rain and snow forecast in the next few days.
Many are surprised that field conditions allow travel with minimal problems, but areas of higher rainfall are struggling to get crop off, leaving deep ruts noticeably south of Arborg and near Petersfield. Soil moisture levels are slowly increasing at depth with September and October rains. Accumulations in that time range from 100 to 250 mm and higher. A hard frost would be welcome to get remaining crops off the field.
Harvest progress is estimated as 75 per cent complete for the region, with some areas higher. Yields are highly variable, but much is coming in at average to slightly below average. Many report better than expected yields, considering the year. All but the last few cereal fields have been harvested; lodging, sprouting and green growth are issues in remaining crop.
Much of the canola is harvested, with many producers finished. Harvested acres estimated at 85 to >90 per cent complete. Those finished are concentrating on getting the soybeans off. Early soybean yields range from 15 to 35 bu/ac, with average yield currently estimated in the 20 to 30 bu/ac range. No quality issues to date.
Flax harvested to date has been in the 20 to 35 bu range, with the odd field yielding in the low 40 bu/ac range. Sunflowers are mature and some fields have been desiccated. Early harvest has started but no yield reports to date. Stands are still looking good, with minimal evidence of head and stalk rots.
Alfalfa seed harvest is wrapping up. Some acres have been written off; others are seeing very good yields. Average yield at this point expected to be in the 300 to 500 lb/acre range.
Corn silage continues, with producers trying to beat the weather. In areas where grain corn yield potential is poor, some fields are being converted to silage. Quality will be a concern, with lower energy levels where cob formation is poor. No reports of grain corn harvest to date; moisture levels still over 30 per cent.
Hybrid fall rye and winter wheat are growing well, with even germination. Crops are at 3 to 4 leaf stage. Later harvest of reseeded canola limited seeding of some intended winter cereal acres. Later seeded forages have also germinated evenly and are growing well.
Tillage operations continue where possible. Fall fertilizer is being applied where possible, but completed acres are lower than hoped. Producers are concerned they will not be able to complete applications of commercial fertilizer and manure before the November 10th deadline, due to delayed harvest and wet conditions.
Forage availability continues to be a big concern for the region. Yields are extremely variable depending on moisture levels; yields are coming in at 20 to 60 per cent of average production. Although some supplemental feeding has started, some producers comment they will be able to delay this slightly as cattle are unexpectedly still on pasture. Indications of more animals going to market due to lack of feed available.
Straw baling has stopped due to conditions, and stover harvest will be limited by wetter conditions. Topsoil moisture for hay and pasture has improved, with some standing water. Pasture condition is rated fair to very poor.