Most Manitoba producers have dodged an icy bullet for now, but there are reports of some minor injury and areas that received a killing frost.
Long-season crops, including corn, and later-seeded crops in parts of western Manitoba got some frost early Monday morning, but the extent of the damage wasn’t known at press time Monday, said Lionel Kaskiw, MAFRD’s farm production adviser in Souris.
“The phone has been ringing off the hook this morning,” he said. “We should know better how crops like soybeans, corn and green canola were affected later today.”
It went to -2 early Monday morning, but Kaskiw didn’t know for how long.
“If it was only an hour we should be OK,” he said.
There were potentially crop-killing temperatures at several weather stations last week including Cypress River, Manitou, Pilot Mound and Somerset, which recorded -2.0, -2.4, -3.0 and -3.1, respectively, said MAFRD’s ag weather specialist Mike Wroblewski.
“It was -2 at Somerset for four to seven hours so that would be a good frost,” Wroblewski said.
“Guys are phoning a lot, they’re worried about it,” said Troy Turner, agronomist with the The National Sunflower Association of Canada. “But sunflowers are actually quite tolerant to it, at least to a certain point. Temperatures of zero or -1 generally won’t kill them.”
Some corn and soybeans were damaged by frost, said MAFRD farm production adviser Rejean Picard.
“Most of the corn is for silage and if the stalk wasn’t too damaged it may continue to fill for a few days,” he said.
Cereals, canola and flax were mature enough to avoid injury, he added.
“If it’s above -1 or -2, then the duration of the cold will affect how much the pods themselves are affected in the canola,” said MAFRD oilseed specialist Anastasia Kubinec, adding that in standing canola a light frost would likely only cause minimal damage.
There are signs of some light frost damage to corn and soybean leaves in the Red River Valley, said Dennis Lange, MAFRD’s farm production adviser at Altona.
“I saw the odd top leaf clipped in the soybean plots in Carman on Sunday, but so far I don’t think there has been any major damage,” Lange said.
Manitoba Wheat and Barley Association chair Don Dewar, who farms near Dauphin, said the airport temperature reached 0° last week but he was not aware of any damage in the area.
“I grow edible beans, and they would show frost as quick as anything in our garden, and none of them are showing frost damage,” he said.
Corn in the late-dent stage should continue to mature, even if its leaves were damaged by frost, said MAFRD cereals specialist Pam de Rocquigny. Less-mature corn may continue to mature too; the question is, will there be enough warm, frost-free days to get it to maturity?