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Harvest progress in Manitoba slowed by widespread rainfall

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for September 24

Southwest Region

Severe thunderstorms with hail and heavy rains fell over the last week and on the weekend. Rainfall has prolonged harvest, which is already delayed from earlier high moisture conditions. Other than Russell area, most districts received 30 to 110 mm rainfall. Brandon, Boissevain, and Mountainside all received greater than 100 mm. Frequent rains are recharging soil moisture, but creating a lot of trouble for unharvested crops. Cereal quality is deteriorating quickly under these conditions. Very little harvest progress occurred last week. Standing water visible in low-lying areas.

  • Click here for the Crop Weather Report for the week ending Sept. 23

Overall Harvest is 55 per cent complete. More producers working in straight cut fields than in swath. Canola Harvest is 30 per cent complete. Yields range between 45 to 50 bu/ac and quality is good.

Spring wheat is 65 per cent harvested in the region. Most fields have average to above average yields and protein ranges from 13 to 15 per cent. In most cases, aeration and drying is needed for high moisture grains. Remaining unharvested crop being downgraded due to mildew and sprouting.

Soybean crop is in R7 to early R8 stage. Leaves are dropping in majority of the fields. Crop is moving past the point of frost injury. There are no reports of any acres harvested yet.

Head rot is occurring in sunflower fields Heavy crop is expected.

Grain corn fields need another week of nice weather to complete physiological maturity. Heavy frost could affect corn yield and quality at this stage of development.

Most cattle are still on pasture with some supplemental feeding. Outlook for feed has improved, as producers are anticipating weather damaged crops will be available for feed and the precipitation has extended the grazing season. Dugouts at 70 per cent capacity. Very little surface runoff has occurred so far.

Northwest Region

There was good harvest weather at the beginning of the week, however heavy thunderstorms and high winds mid-week halted harvest operations. Swan River area received 4 to 15 mm, The Pas 40 to 60 mm, Roblin 10 mm and around Dauphin/Ste. Rose 25 to 40 mm. Birch River/Benito area received damaging hail. Cloudy wet conditions slowed harvest for the rest of the week but by the weekend, the weather had improved allowing harvest operations to resume in earnest.

The harvest of field peas is complete in the region with reported yields of 40 to 80 bu/ac. The spring wheat crop is ripe in the region and harvest is estimated at 75 per cent complete, 70 to 75 per cent around Swan River, 80 per cent around Roblin, 85 to 90 per cent around Dauphin and 25 per cent at The Pas. Spring wheat yields around Swan River, Roblin and The Pas are in the range of 60 to 90 bu/ac. Additional drying is required with high moisture in some of the wheat crop.

Oats and barley are 50 per cent harvested at Swan River and 75 per cent complete at Roblin. The canola crop continues to mature throughout the region and it is either swathed or left standing for straight combining. High winds in some parts of the region resulted in canola swaths being blown around. Progress is being made combining the canola crop with progress around Roblin and Swan River at 35 per cent done and Dauphin 55 per cent complete. Reported yields are in the 45 to 60 bu/ac range. The soybean crop is maturing, 100 per cent of the crop remains standing around Roblin and Swan River, and 10 per cent of soybeans are harvested around Dauphin. Where soil moisture conditions are suitable, post harvest operations have begun on harvested fields.

In between frequent rains, resuming field operations have been a challenge this past week. Straw remains to be baled, and there are still some late seeded annual crops yet to be put up as feed. Producers are still waiting for a killing frost to harvest additional alfalfa where sufficient regrowth to warrant mechanical harvest. In the drier areas around Dauphin and Ste. Rose, severe winter feed shortages are being reported and many producers are looking at feeding alternative feeds for winter feed supply. Corn silage fields are in the R4 (dough) to R5 (dent) with chopping just beginning in the Dauphin area. Recent moisture has improved pasture conditions but there are still some producers weaning and culling herd sooner than usual. Rain has helped dugouts but levels remain low.

Central Region

Harvest was limited to a couple of days mid week when conditions dried and warmed sufficiently. Late in the week, a major rain system came across the region bringing significant precipitation from a low of 40 mm around Cartwright to 130 mm high around Emerson stalling all field operations. Some hail reported in various areas along the southern part of the region but extent of damage considered limited. Conditions cleared and warmed on Sunday and Monday allowing for some harvesting activity on Monday.

Harvested grain is tough and most has been put on aeration and dried before longer-term storage. Soil moisture is now rated as good to surplus with the recent rains. Runoff from the high rainfall is reported as limited since soils have been able to absorb much of the precipitation.

Harvest of wheat, oats and barley is considered done in the Red River valley; and 85 per cent complete west of the escarpment. Ripe, unharvested cereal crops are suffering from this last stretch of wetness causing bleaching and downgrading grain quality. Swathed fields that have been in down a while and exposed to the recent wet weather are showing evidence of grain sprouting. All recently harvested wheat has been harvested tough and is being dried and put on aeration.

Tillage has been done where conditions are favourable, but acres are limited given the rainy conditions. Volunteer grain regrowth is evident having good germination conditions. Seeding of winter wheat and fall rye was completed last week.

More advanced and well- developed corn crops are dented and nearing physiological maturity (black layer). Silage corn harvest is underway and some poorer fields destined for grain are being harvested as silage.

Soybeans are fully mature and ready for harvest in the Red River Valley. West of the escarpment, soybean fields are mature, but need drying down before they can be harvested. Some soybean harvest done in the Red River Valley report yields in the 30 bu/ac range, and are considered below average. There were reports of pod and stem blight on mature soybeans, and in some cases quality damage reported on harvest samples. Dry beans are podded and mature. About 30 to 40 per cent of field beans have been harvested to date with average yield in the 1500 to 1800 lbs/ac reported. Due to the recent rains, quality may now be affected for fields that remain unharvested.

Canola harvest nearly complete in the Red River valley at around 90 per cent combined and yields widely ranging in the 25 to 55 bu/ac due to seasonal moisture variations. Above the escarpment, canola harvest is about 50 per cent done with yields reported in the 40 to 50 bu/ac Flax harvest is underway, with yields reported between 25 to 35 bu/ac.

Adequate rainfall in the last month has recharged soil moisture for hay and pasture land.

Second cut hay fields and pastures have greened up and are providing some fall grazing. Third cut alfalfa is slow to grow and should not be harvested during the critical fall period to ensure winter survivability.

Hay sampling and testing is underway with results indicating nitrates showing up in some feeds affected by dry growing conditions. Producers that are feeding a variety of feed sources this year should feed test and have their rations balanced to meet livestock requirements.

Hauling of hay and straw into feed yards will be delayed until the ground dries up.

The improvement in forage growth will help extend the grazing season and delay the feeding of winter feed supplies. Calves are being creep fed on pasture.

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

The wet weather has reduced grasshopper feeding activity in crops, hay and pasture.

Eastern Region

Rainfall accumulations for the week ranged from 50 mm to 175 mm, with majority falling over the weekend. Rainfall amounts were highest in southern districts (75 to 175 mm) and lowest in northern districts (50 to 70 mm) with central districts receiving levels somewhere in between. Fields are wet to saturated, with standing water apparent in some areas.

Overall harvest progress for the region is approximately 65 per cent complete. Harvesting and field work have stopped and good drying conditions needed for producers to return to the fields in a timely manner. Before the rain, harvesting and fieldwork were proceeding rapidly as farmers tried to make up for time lost due to earlier rainfall events. Isolated hailstorms occurred throughout the region on Friday causing some shatter damage to canola and soybean crops. Soil moisture conditions on cropland across the region were rated as 60 per cent surplus and 40 per cent adequate. Soil moisture conditions in hay and pasturelands were rated as 50 per cent surplus and 50 per cent adequate.

Spring wheat harvest is almost complete with an average yield of 65 bu/ac. 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. Oat harvest is almost complete with yields of over 100 bu/acre. Quality on the remaining oats harvested had degraded significantly due to and mildew. Barley harvest was complete with an average yield of 70 bu/ac. Increased head breakage and head loss in the remaining barley crop was noted. Most of the cereal acres left to harvest are in northern districts.

Canola harvest was 85 per cent complete with average yields 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 5 per cent of acres done. Soybeans will become the focus of harvest activities once fields are accessible again. Corn silage harvest was approximately 10 per cent complete with yields of 15 to 18 tonnes/ac.

Corn was in the late dent to half- milk line growth stages depending on the hybrid. Soybean crops ranged from the late R7 to R8 (95 per cent brown pod and drying down) with some crops being harvest ready before the recent rainfall. Sunflowers are ready for desiccation (R9).

Supplemental feeding is occurring on pastures. Pasture conditions 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.

Interlake Region

Significant rains on Friday and over the weekend have brought harvest to a standstill. Almost all areas received more than 30 mm, with many reporting 50 to 100 mm. Thunderstorms dropped up to 125 mm, scattered through the region. Shorter days and high humidity have also affected harvest operations. Even with the rains, a few combines were out on Monday afternoon in the southeast part of the region. Pasture and hayfields aregreeningup. Rainshavebeen welcome for seeding of winter wheat and hybrid fall rye, as well as for tillage operations, but are frustrating the annual crop harvest. Rain forecast over the next several days will further delay harvest and field operations.

While the ground is soft enough that ruts and compaction are becoming a concern in areas of higher rainfall, soil moisture levels remain low at depth.

Minimal change to progress this past week, 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 report 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 40 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 has started.

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

Harvest of a few soybean fields reported, with early yields of 20 to 30 bu/ac. Most sunflowers are at R8 to R9. Stands are short. Some corn has shut down due to dry conditions, a significant concern for final yield. Cobs formed have fewer rows than average, and in some cases, cobs are extremely small. Light frosts had previously affected some corn and other immature crops in the northwest; rain seems to have aided improvement.

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. Some acres have been written off.

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

Seeding of hybrid fall rye and winter wheat progressed well; germination is even and fields are growing well. Some intended acres will not be seeded, since some reseeded canola acres have not been harvested. Tillage operations have begun, but are also shut down with recent rains. Some fall fertilizer application has begun.

Some post harvest weed control has been done. 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; but recent rains have greened things up – some producers comment this is the best pastures and hayfields have looked all year. Rain has improved conditions for overwintering of these perennial crops. Producers are undertaking pasture and hay renewal measures for next year. Rain has been very beneficial for forages seeded this year.

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 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 is rated as 60 per cent short and 20 per cent very short; pasture condition is rated fair to very poor.

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

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