Manitoba Agriculture – Favourable weather and field conditions have allowed seeding operations to get underway in many areas of Manitoba. Provincially, it is estimated that less than five per cent of the 2017 crop has been seeded.
No meaningful precipitation received during the past week and soil surface conditions are drying nicely across the province. Farm operators are starting field operations on selected fields that can be worked on with machinery. The favourable forecast should continue to warm up and dry out fields.
Winter cereal crops overwintered poorly in the Eastern and Interlake regions but are quite well in other parts of the province.
Pasture and hay fields are starting to re-grow slowly with the colder weather of the last week.
Very little to no precipitation was received last week. The soil temperatures over the past week ranged between 3.4 to 9.5 C at 5 cm and 5.4 to 11.7 C at 20 cm.
The high water table and excess moisture in the Southwest is delaying seeding. Wind is enhancing the dry down process and with continued lack of precipitation in the forecast; producers will likely get into the fields at the end of the week. Harrowing has begun in fields that are accessible and a few seeders have started in fields with lighter textured soils.
Due to good weather conditions in the last few of days, soils are drying down nicely in the northern parts of the southwest regions as well. Some seeding has started around Brandon area, mostly cereals. With good weather in the forecast seeding is expected to be in full swing later this week.
Winter wheat fields are starting to re-grow and appear to have overwintered well. However, in the extreme southwest corner, some flooded out acres are showing signs of water stress in some fields.
Weeds growth is also slow with this cold temperature.
Forages in the Southwest have not started growth yet but warm weather over the next couple of weeks should stimulate re-growth. It is too early to assess the extent of winter damage.
Dugouts are full to capacity in most areas.
Cool temperatures through the week, especially overnight, slowed the start of spring operations. Soil moisture is rated as adequate to good with fields drying throughout the areas of Roblin, Dauphin and Ste Rose. There is some ponding of water in low lying areas in Swan River and fields in The Pas remain somewhat wet. Temperatures warmed slowly by the weekend with light showers on Sunday through the northern parts of the region. Snow remains in some treed areas, along ditches and fence lines.
Field operations have just begun in some fields in the southern part of the region, including harrowing, pre-seed burnoff applications as well as fertilizer application. Some seeding has begun in the Roblin area with the expectation that it will be in full swing later this week with favourable weather conditions forecasted. Some winter annuals are actively growing however generally weed and volunteer crop growth is negligible.
As a result of cool temperatures, forage growth has not yet begun. Fertilizer application is occurring on hay and pasture land. Forecasted warmer temperatures this week will be of benefit to hay fields and pastures. There are areas with excess moisture but many of them are the same areas that tend to have that situation this time of year.
Livestock water supplies are adequate.
Seeding has begun. Although some wheat was seeded in the second week of April, progress is slower than anticipated due to cooler temperatures. Those cooler temperatures have moderated the pace of drying – along with showers on the Easter weekend. Overnight temperatures continue to dip into the frost range; soils are cold.
Minimal if any precipitation in the last week, and warmer temperatures forecast for this week will allow for more general seeding in the next few days. Many producers are waiting for better planting conditions.
Much of the region reports wet conditions as a carryover from last fall. Some work is being done on field drainage. Some fields being seeded are borderline dry; heavy harrows have been used where conditions are too wet for cultivators.
In areas where field conditions allow, cereals have started to go in, with wheat, barley and oats ranging from five to 15 per cent complete. There are some indications of lower than average cereal acres to be planted this spring.
Some peas have been seeded. Corn has also gone in, although soil temperatures are cold. Soybeans are at greater risk of frost once emerged; most growers should be waiting until soil temperatures are warmer before planting. About 10 C average soil temperature is the minimum for optimum germination.
Winter wheat, fall rye and perennial ryegrass fields are fertilized where possible, but some fields are still too wet. Winterkill is a concern in some winter wheat fields, ranging up to 20 per cent; in general winter survival has been good. Some snow mould reported, but not at significant levels.
Higher than normal level of winter annual and annual weeds are noted, including chickweed, shepherds purse and volunteer canola, along with dandelion. This may warrant either more cultivation or preseed burnoff.
Fertilizer applications have been made in alfalfa/hay fields that were dry enough.
Pasture conditions are rated as fair; but range from poor to good. Excess moisture is a concern for some pastures and forages. Growth is slow due to cooler than normal temperatures.
Livestock water supply is adequate.
Precipitation across the region varied from 0.5 to 20 cm of snow/rainfall across the region last week. Soil temperatures in worked fields are noted as rising throughout last week with peak daily temperatures at seeding depth approaching 5 to 9 C by the weekend. Soil temperatures on fields with heavier trash cover were lower. Soil moisture conditions on cropland across the region were rated as adequate to surplus and varying substantially from field to field. Soil moisture conditions on the majority of hay and pasture land is rated as adequate to surplus.
Across the region, 35 to 80 per cent of winter wheat acres appear to have suffered winter damage. Stands continue to be assessed for damage. We will have a better estimate of acres over the next few weeks but from initial reports it is not looking good for this year’s winter wheat crop in the region.
Seeding began over the weekend and is expected to become more general this week. Fertilizer spreading in advance of seeding began and is expected to continue this week. Seeding progress by the end of last week across the Eastern Region was less than one per cent. About one per cent of spring wheat is planted across the region. Planting for other crops has not started. Producers are expected to make rapid seeding progress later this week if favourable weather continues.
Manure application is starting as well on grain, hay and pasture land. Livestock producers are starting to move cows to higher ground to get out of the mud and feeding on the higher pastures. Calving is about 80 per cent complete. There are some hay sales happening which is usual at this time of the year. Across the region the majority of hay and pasture lands were in good to fair condition. Availability of livestock water is adequate.
A slow spring melt was welcomed due to the fairly large snowfall accumulations over winter; allowing drains to handle the runoff for the most part. Night time temperatures are still going below freezing. Soil temperatures are in the low single digits and soil conditions are quite mellow with little lumpiness providing favourable conditions for high fertilizer use efficiency.
Seeding progress is very slow, with less than two per cent so far. Most producers are planning on starting this week as they finalize getting their equipment ready for the field. Many are waiting for the fields to dry more completely. Soon seeding will be in full swing.
Some spreading of fertilizer on winter wheat has occurred throughout the region. Winter cereals are patchy at best in their recovery and re-growth. It appears that over 50 per cent of the winter wheat will need to be reseeded at this time. Fall rye and winter triticale currently appear to be faring better.
Native and tame pastures are providing very little to no feed from new growth so far this growing season. Grasses and legumes are just starting to break dormancy and are 25-76 cm tall. Grazing other than stockpiled grass would hinder forage production going forward.
Most hayfields and pastures are at or near field capacity for soil moisture. Generally though there is less standing water on the fields than in recent past springs due to a relatively slow spring melt. On ranch land a small amount of pre-seeding tillage is occurring on new breaking and some fertilizing of hay fields.