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Frost contunied from page 1

Frost , from page 1

while stem rot causes plants to break and fall over, making harvest difficult.

Phoma stem rot, which also causes plants to break, has infected some fields too.

Sclerotinia is common in sunflowers now because growers are pushing their rotations, not allowing a big enough gap between when they grow sunflowers and other susceptible crops such as canola or beans, she said.

Some later canola fields may have more green seeds than desirable. Freezing interferes with the enzyme that helps dissipate the chlorophyll that causes green seeds.

Green seeds could be a problem in some soybean and edible bean fields too, said Brian Jack, a MAFRI farm production adviser who works with pulse crops. Most soybean and edible bean fields survived the frost, he said.

Phones were not ringing off the hook at crop insurance offices following the frost, Van Deynze said.

“There has been the odd inquiry here and there – about corn, mostly,” he said. “It has been pretty quiet and a non-event from our perspective.”

“GREY AREA”

Corn harvest is expected to be late again, dragging into November and December. Some farmers are considering leaving their corn out until spring, allowing the cold temperatures to dry it instead of using expensive dryers.

Crop insurance allows it, but doesn’t encourage it, said Doug Wilcox, manager of agronomy and program development.

“It’s potentially a grey area for us because we don’t pay for management-related losses so if you make a management choice to leave it in the field, then in theory we might come back and say the problems that occurred were from leaving (it out over winter) when you didn’t have to,” he said. “But that rarely happens.”

Corn, or any other crop left unharvested over winter, is vulnerable to wildlife predation, as well as breaking down, resulting in yield loss. Corn can also become mouldy and infested with toxins, reducing its quality and value.

Spring harvesting can also result in delayed seeding.

“If we have another wet spring it can come back to bite you,” Wilcox said.

The last two years show that in the absence of a lot of warm weather, a longer growing season can make up for it, de Rocquigny said. She hopes farmers don’t become complacent, and suggests farmers spread the risk by growing some earlier-maturing varieties too.

“We’ve been lucky,” de Rocquigny said. “You might be leaving some yield on the table by picking a lower corn heat unit variety, which are normally a bit lower yielding, but at the same time you’ve got money in the bank in a normal year. Sometimes though no matter what happens, Mother Nature will trump you.” [email protected]

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