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Harvest progress a challenge, grain drying seen for cereals, canola

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for September 17

Southwest Region

Rain over the previous week stalled all field activities in most of the region. Rain was variable from 5 to 18mm. Warm weekend temperatures allowed producers a chance to resume harvesting. Progress has been made across most of the region. Depending on the conditions of the crop and weather situation, both cereals and canola were the major target of harvest operations.

There were some cooler temperatures, but no frost occurred this past week, benefitting most crops with natural maturation.

  • Click here for the Crop Weather Report for the week ending Sept. 16

Overall harvest is 35 per cent complete. Majority of harvested acres are south of the TransCanada, but there has been progress further north as well. Canola is mostly swathed and or ready to harvest. More producers planning to straight cut fields this year.

Harvest is about 20 per cent complete in general. Yields are modest at 40 to 50 bu/ac and quality is good.

Spring wheat is 50 per cent harvested. Most fields have average to above average yield and 13 to 15 per cent protein. A few reports of quality issues, especially in swathed fields. Some sprouting and mildew found in those fields.

Barley harvest is 90 per cent complete. Yield is above average.

Some oat fields are still waiting to harvest and have lodged with high moisture conditions. Harvest is 80 per cent complete

Many soybean fields are starting to mature. Crop is in late R7 to early R8 stage. Some fields are physiologically mature, and others, with different varieties are still one to two weeks behind. Low lying areas still somewhat green but are yellowing and dropping leaves. No harvest progress to date.

Corn is near dent stage (R5). Some earlier frost, damaged upper portions of plants, but not cobs. Chopping corn for silage will start soon, but most farmers are holding off until moisture drops. Estimates are for an average yield. Grain fields need another week of nice weather to accumulate heat units to reach physiological maturity.

Sunflowers have reached R8, but heavy moisture conditions have allowed head rot to develop.

Some winter cereals have been seeded, mostly into cereal stubble with canola stubble more limited due to harvest operations. Plenty of topsoil moisture available now for germination.

Recent rains have just started to fill dugouts, and will benefit next year’s forages. Rain has come too late to help with hay and green feed yields, but is reducing pressure on most pastures. Some producers are feeding on pasture but in general, cattle are still on pasture. Precipitation has halted most harvesting including straw, green feed and silage operations. Many farmers have been baling straw for future use or sale.

Dugouts at 50 per cent capacity. Very little runoff so far, despite having reaching 100 per cent of normal precipitation for the year.

Northwest Region

Scattered showers throughout the region halted harvest operations through the week. Rainfall events ranged from 4 to 10mm with the heaviest rain of 18mm around Birch River. The weekend brought highs of 28 to 32 C, and along with breezy conditions have helped dry down and mature crops for harvest. Harvest operations resumed in full swing by the weekend.

Slow harvest progress prevailed early last week, but began in earnest throughout the region over the weekend. The harvest of field peas is virtually complete around Roblin however, 5 per cent of field peas remain standing in the Swan River area with reported yields of 40 to 80 bu/ac. Around Roblin, the winter wheat harvest is complete. The spring wheat crop is ripe in the region and harvest is generally underway with 25 per cent of the crop harvested. Additional dry down is required with high moisture in some of the wheat crop. Spring wheat yields around Swan River are in the range of 50 to 70 bu/ac. Oats and barley are 25 per cent harvested. The canola crop continues to mature throughout the region with most of the canola crop either swathed or standing for straight combining. There has been a start to the harvest of canola around Swan River with 10 per cent combined; Dauphin and Ste. Rose areas are further ahead with overall progress for the region at 15 per cent. Better weather with an absence of frost is helping to mature the soybean crop; and while 100 per cent of fields are still standing, there is optimism for good yields. Post-harvest operations have begun on harvested fields, but are somewhat limited due to wet conditions. The winter wheat seeded into harvested pea fields is emerging and is in good condition.

Harvesting operations and baling of straw resumed over the weekend after wet conditions last week halted operations. Producers are contemplating taking advantage of good drying weather to put up second cut alfalfa where it exists; realizing alfalfa winter survival could be at risk cutting at this time. Although recent rainfall has greened up pastures and held back grasshopper populations, many pastures do not have sufficient growth to meet herd requirements. Cattle are being moved off the Ethelbert and Alonsa community pastures early due to lack of regrowth. Producers are weaning calves and culling cows earlier.

Water levels in dugouts have slightly increased in the Roblin and Swan River areas but dugouts around Dauphin, Ste. Rose and Rorketon remain low to dry. Corn silage harvest is still weeks away with yields estimated at 60 per cent in the drier parts of the region to normal in other areas.

Central Region

Harvest stalled during the week due to intermittent rain events, cool temperatures and persistently high humidity. Conditions cleared and warmed on the weekend allowing for some harvest on Sunday and Monday.

Harvested grain is tough and being put on aeration and dried before longer-term storage. Precipitation was general and varied from 20 to 50 mm helping to replenish soil moisture, now rated as good to excessive in places. The Pilot Mound experienced hail on the weekend causing light damage, with assessments underway.

Ripe, mature cereal crops are suffering from this last stretch of wetness causing bleaching and downgrading grain quality.

Harvest of wheat, oats and barley is mostly done in the Red River valley, whereas 15 to 25 per cent of those crops remain to be harvested on the escarpment. Early season crops are mature and harvest of those crops is currently about 85 to 90 per cent complete in the region. Volunteer grain regrowth is evident having good germination conditions. Some fall tillage has been done where conditions are favourable. Winter cereal seeding is delayed due to the later harvest of canola fields, as canola is preferred stubble type for planting.

Corn is in the seed filling stage. In some areas, cob development was being limited for lack of moisture but recent rainfall will help seed filling. More advanced and well developed corn crops are into the dough stage and denting. Silage corn harvest has started and some poorer fields destined for grain are being harvested as silage.

Soybeans are in the R7 stage to R8 or full maturity in more mature fields in the Red River Valley compared to above the escarpment. Leaves are dropping rapidly and plants are turning brown. Some soybean harvest started between Altona to Carman, but no reported yields so far. Field beans are podded and mature. Harvest is 30 per cent complete, with average yield in the 1500 to 1800 lbs/ac range.

Swathing of canola fields is mostly done above and below the escarpment with a good proportion of fields remaining standing, and will be straight combined when ready. Canola yields are ranging from 25 to 55 bu/ac due to seasonal moisture variations. Above the escarpment canola harvest is 25 to 35 per cent done with early yields reported in the 40 to 50 bu/ac. Flax is in the boll stage, brown and ready to be harvested. Sunflowers are in the R8 stage and seed filling and nearly ready for desiccation. Grasshoppers feeding damage has slowed with the cooler and wetter conditions this week.

Adequate rainfall in the last few weeks has helped improve soil moisture conditions for crop, hay and pasture land. Second cut hay fields and pastures that were browned off are now greening up and will provide fall grazing. Second cut and wild hay harvest is complete. Cattle supplementation on pasture has been delayed with the rains and improvement to the forage growth.

Livestock water supplies have improved with the recent rains but are still low and dugouts will need runoff in the spring to fill.

The cooler and wet weather has slowed down grasshopper activity in the crops, hay and pasture.

Eastern Region

Rainfall for the week across the region ranged from 15 to 45mm with all areas receiving rain. Little progress on harvesting or fieldwork was made last week. Harvesting restarted on Monday as the weather shifted to warm, sunny and humid. Soil moisture conditions on cropland across the region were rated as 15 per cent surplus and 80 per cent adequate and 5 per cent short. Soil moisture conditions in hay and pasture lands were rated as 60 per cent adequate, 40 per cent short and 10 per cent very short.

Across the region, 95 per cent of spring wheat harvested with average yield of 65 bu/ac. Quality on the remaining wheat has degraded significantly due to sprouting and mildew. Protein levels remain mixed with reports ranging from 11 per cent to greater than 14.5 per cent. Oat harvest was almost complete with an average yield of over 100 bu/ac. Quality on the remaining oats has degraded significantly due sprouting to and mildew. Barley harvest was almost complete with an average yield of 70 bu/ac. Increased head breakage and head loss in the remaining barley crop was noted.

In southern and central districts, canola harvest was close to being complete with remaining acres completed this week if weather allows. In northern districts, approximately 50 per cent of canola acres harvested. Yield ranged from 40 to 50 bu/ac. If weather was favourable, soybean harvest in central and southern districts could begin in 7 to 10 days. Overall harvest progress for the region is approximately 60 per cent complete.

Interlake Region

Unsettled weather and intermittent rains have continued to slow harvest progress. Shorter days and high humidity have affected harvest operations. Some activity started up on Sunday evening, with many combines going by Monday afternoon. North parts of the region received less than 15 mm, while southern areas received up to 30 mm. Pasture and hayfields are greening up, and rains may help some later maturing grain corn and corn silage, but have been a nuisance for annual crop harvest. Rain is welcome for seeding of winter wheat and hybrid fall rye, as well as for tillage operations.

Premature ripening due to dry conditions has been evident in all crops, particularly in the driest areas. Rainfall accumulations to date remain less than normal. Soil moisture levels remain low, even in areas receiving rains.

Harvest is estimated at as much as 60 to 65 per cent complete. Yields are highly variable, but much is coming in at average to slightly below average. Many reports of better than expected yields, considering the year. All crops have been stagey; some fields have been left standing for longer periods to allow green areas to mature, even following desiccation and pre- harvest treatments.

Cereal harvest has progressed well to 90 to 100 per cent complete.

Canola has quite a range, from 30 to 75 per cent complete; a number of producers have finished up and are waiting on soybeans. Early canola yields reported in the 30 to 60 bu/ac range, with averages expected in the 35 to low 40 bu/ac range. Swathing in later seeded and re-seeded canola should start in the next week or two.

Flax harvest has begun, with early reports of 20 to 30 bu/acre.

Rapid colour change and leaf drop is seen in soybeans, in many cases due to dry conditions. Growth stage is late R7 and R8. Harvest of a few fields reported, but no yields to date. Sunflowers are at R7 to R9. Stands are short. Some corn is starting to shut down; dry conditions are a significant concern for final yield. Cobs formed have fewer rows than average, and in some cases, cobs are extremely small.

Alfalfa seed harvest has begun. Yields will be dependent on rainfall and soil type. Some fields may yield close to average, but none will reach the high yields attained last season.

Silage corn harvest continues, and will be lower than normal. Quality will be a concern, with lower energy levels where cob formation is minimal.

Cooler, wetter weather has slowed grasshopper and flea beetle activity. Many of the grasshoppers present now are the large, black winged Carolina grasshopper. The distinctive yellow band helps with identification. Generally, not a pest problem in Manitoba, they feed primarily on grasses.

Good field conditions following rains have allowed for seeding of hybrid fall rye and winter wheat, along with the beginning of tillage operations. Some fall fertilizer application has begun.

Post harvest weed control has started. Rains have greened up perennial weeds, as well as volunteers on harvested cropland.

Extremely dry soils have limited both recovery and growth of hay and pasture; rains have been very welcome, and are beneficial for improving conditions for overwintering of these perennial crops. Producers are undertaking pasture and hay renewal measures for next year.

Greenfeed yields are lower than average. Some crops intended for grain production have gone for forage. 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. Productivity is best on new stands, and fertilized stands. Some producers are fertilizing forage stands for next year. Rains may add a few days to pasture grazing, although this may risk pasture survival and availability for next year. Supplemental feeding will start earlier than normal. Indications of more animals going to market due to lack of feed available. Topsoil moisture for hay and pasture is rated as 30 per cent short and 70 per cent very short; pasture condition is rated poor to very poor.

Dugout levels have declined, and some are dry. Water supply is rated as 40 per cent adequate. Both supply and quality remain a concern.

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