Losses expected for unharvested cereal crops, flax

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for October 29

Southwest Region

No rain or snow fell this week, allowing farmers a chance to continue harvest in the Southwest region. Wet conditions in the southeastern districts and the north of PTH 45 continue to hamper harvest. Many farmers have harvested the bulk of their acres at this point, when compared to two weeks ago.

Overall, harvest is 75 per cent complete. Spring wheat is 90 per cent harvested in the region. There is very little progress in spring wheat harvest, as producers prefer to harvest canola (75 per cent done) and soybean instead of wheat at this time due to quality issues and perceived value. Moisture levels in canola vary, but producers are still drying most of the crop.

Some reports of swathed cereal crops being baled for feed. Oats and barley are 98 per cent complete.

Soybean harvest continues with 60 per cent of crop harvested, and majority has been harvested wet around 17 to 20 per cent moisture. Combing flax was done last week as producers are first trying those crops that are standing well. Overall 60 per cent of the flax crop is harvested.

Silage corn stands at 55 per cent done. Quality and moisture remains good; however, the issue is being able to travel in the field.

There is some progress in grain corn harvest as producers are taking the crop off under wet conditions especially in the southeastern part of the region.

Sunflower harvest has just begun and most producers are waiting for ground conditions favorable for travel. About 20 per cent harvest complete.

The region has not had any appreciable precipitation over the last two weeks. Many livestock producers are putting cattle out on sprouted grains and annual crop regrowth. Nitrates are a concern in many cases and require management to use this feed resource. The Southwest faired better than much of agro-Manitoba but feed supply is variable, with some areas near normal and others well below. Many producers are sourcing feed grain to supplement their feed supply. Of concern is that there is no extra feed in the region and producers will be looking for a mild winter and good growing conditions in the upcoming year.

Northwest Region

Some harvest operations took place at the beginning of the week however, snow by the weekend brought operations to a standstill. All areas of the Northwest region are currently snow covered.

Spring wheat harvest is approximately 99 per cent complete in all parts of the region. Canola harvest is 95 to 99 per cent complete at Roblin, The Pas, and Swan River with Dauphin and south of Roblin estimated at 90 per cent. Canola yields range from 50 to 70 bu/acre. Soybean harvest at Roblin and Swan River is virtually complete; around Dauphin soybeans are 90 per cent complete. Soybeans combined last week came off at high moisture; yields ranged from 25 to 35 bu/ac in Swan River; 33 to 41 bu/ac at Roblin.

The flax crop is harvested in Swan River and Roblin. Grain corn is being harvested as conditions allow, approximately 20 per cent complete.

With better weather conditions this past week, additional feed was harvested including straw, second cut alfalfa and annual crops as greenfeed or round bale silage. Corn silage harvest is generally wrapping up with the exception of a few fields currently to wet for field travel. Some fields of annuals originally intended for grazing have been harvested as round bale silage because of high nitrate levels. Fields of annual crops that remain to be harvested as greenfeed or silage and recent snowfall has stopped field operations. Producers experiencing feed shortages continue to source additional feed. Fall round up of moving herds back home is underway.

Central Region

Much of the snow from the previous week’s snowstorm has melted and resulting moisture is keeping fields conditions wet. Daytime temperatures were seasonal with a couple of days above normal providing improved drying conditions to crops combined with moderate winds. Snow remains in parts of fields and ditches west of the escarpment. Precipitation was minimal this week ranging from none for much of the region to 8mm in the Emerson area.

Harvest progressed for many of the crops remaining in the field but growers have to be selective of the fields they choose to harvest and carry machinery. Many fields are partially harvested leaving excessively wet areas alone. Field conditions are very challenging, muddy and fields are being rutted up as farmers struggle to continue harvesting.

Forecast this week is for sub-zero daytime high temperatures and double digit nighttime freezing with low risk of precipitation. Growers are hoping to continue harvesting as fields freeze and can carry equipment.

Overall harvest is estimated at 90 to 95 per cent complete with mostly soybeans, corn, sunflowers remaining across region, and some flax and canola west of the escarpment. Flax samples of what is still in fields has been found downgraded due to moulds and considered not marketable. Remaining crop left out is expected to be destroyed. As a result, flax straw is in short supply this fall for processors.

Some tillage and anhydrous application took place this week but continues to be delayed given the wet field conditions.

Corn harvest progressed with about 30 per cent done. Corn harvest is more advanced in the Red River Valley with yield reported from 130 to 160 bu/acre. Moisture content is 25 to 30 per cent. Silage corn harvest progressed where field access was possible.

Soybean harvest progressed this week varying from 20 per cent done in the Altona area to 60 per cent west of the escarpment and higher in the Carman area. Soybean yields reported west of the escarpment on recently harvested fields ranges from 30 to 60 bu/ac, good seed quality but tough. Sunflower harvest progressed some but remains difficult with machinery causing ruts in the fields. Harvest of sunflower is 10 to 15 per cent done west of the escarpment to as much as 60 per cent in the Altona area.

Field beans seed quality suffered greatly from the recent poor weather. Most of the remaining crop is considered not worth harvesting due to mouldy grain.

Harvest progress for this crop remains at 60 per cent.

Canola harvest is 95 per cent done. Swathed canola fields have been pushed deeper into the stubble from the snow, and suffer from sprouting damage and slowness to dry. Harvest of many of those remaining fields is questionable. Standing canola fields have lodged severely from the recent snow and harvest is difficult but possible using pick up reels and lifters on combine headers. Yield from those later harvested fields varies widely ranging from 25 to 40 bu/acre.

Commercial potato harvest progressed but slowed with the wet conditions. Reports of 70 to 80 per cent harvest complete but frost report on fields has compromised crop quality and harvest ability.

Grazing has resumed on pasture and on cut hay fields for the time being as grass on pasture is close to being finished for the season. Cattle are being rounded up from pasture, brought home, and put on winter feed. Calves are being weaned and marketed. Calves still on pasture are being creep fed grain.

Corn silage harvest continues where equipment can travel but the corn is starting to get to dry which makes packing for storage a challenge.

Hay and cattle yards are very wet making them difficult to work in to move feed, cattle or manure. Freezing temperatures help firm up yards and fields allowing for better access and travel.

Livestock producers are having trouble to bale additional feed. Early tests of greenfeed are showing signs of nitrates because of either drought or frost stress. Some dugouts that were dry have recharged with all the rain/snow and runoff.

Eastern Region

Over the last week, trace amounts of precipitation occurred in the Eastern region, mostly in the form of light snow. Fields remained wet since soil drying conditions were poor. Temperatures hovered around freezing but fell below 0°C over the weekend and into this week. Limited harvest progress was made with producers moving from field to field doing whatever they can. Most harvested crops were tough with grain dryers and aeration systems being used.

Significant field rutting occurred wherever producers tried to make progress. Some growers were using tracks on their combines to increase floatation over wet soils. Soybean fields in particular were being extensively rutted as producers tried to harvest. Some producers decided to stay out of fields to avoid rutting and/or the high costs of drying. Producers were somewhat encouraged by the freezing temperatures experienced and were hoping the ground freezes sufficiently to hold the weight of combines or at least headers to allow for the low cutting in the case of soybeans. Frequent light snows were frustrating growers as they prevented harvesting on days when the ground was sufficiently frozen. It was noted that head rot in sunflowers became more extensive and severe over the last week and that sunflower stems in some fields were breaking down under the weight of heads.

Wheat, oats and canola harvest was almost complete with most of the acres to harvest in northern districts. Canola harvested from swaths was proving problematic because of seed moisture content in the 17 to 20 per cent range. Soybean harvest was about 35 per cent complete. Average yield was about 35 bu/ac with mostly good quality. Some soybean crops had high enough moisture content to require drying as opposed to aeration.

Sunflower harvest was about 35 per cent complete. Yields for oilseed and confectionary (non-oilseed) was around 3000 lbs/ac with good quality, but the loss of heads due to head rot was a significant concern.

Corn silage harvesting was ongoing although wet field conditions continued to slow progress. Silage was being cut on the dry side at around 45 per cent moisture. Some fields that were to be cut for silage will be harvested for grain instead. Corn silage harvest was approximately 75 per cent complete with yields of 15 to 20 tons/acre. About 30 per cent of grain corn acres were harvested but grain moistures were high with dryers were being. Grain dryer capacity was limiting corn harvest progress. Early yield estimates range from 100 to 150 bu/acre. Overall harvest progress for the region was about 75 per cent complete with northern districts of the Eastern region having made the least progress.

Interlake Region

Harvest has progressed slowly in the north Interlake, while nearly stalled further south. Snowmelt from earlier storms is now ponding on field surfaces, and warmer conditions have made many fields impassable.

Wet snow has caused crop lodging in some fields, which continues to delay harvest; it will be difficult for those areas to dry. Fields are rutted up, and more reports of combines getting stuck. Ruts were a problem in areas of heavy rain even before the storms. Based on experience in previous years, some are choosing to wait, due to the extensive damage that can affect crops for several years following. Declining quality will be an issue in unharvested crop. Even with the snow, many soybean and cornfields are still standing well; some growers were able to harvest on the weekend where the ground had firmed up, and in drier areas and lighter soils. The wettest fields will not be touched until hard frosts or frozen ground allow machinery back on.

Harvest progress is estimated at 80 to 85 per cent complete for the region, with some areas higher. Yields are highly variable, but much has come in at average to slightly below average.

All but the last few cereal fields have been harvested; lodging, sprouting and green growth are issues in remaining crop, and quality continues to decline. Farms that have been unable to harvest their cereals are contemplating crop destruction or baling, since crops will likely not be harvestable in spring.

Canola harvest is estimated at 90 per cent complete. Producers have resumed harvest in soybeans and some grain corn. Reports are that some farms have nearly all acres still to go, while a few have finished up. Many have not started due to poor field conditions and some longer season varieties. Total acres complete for the region are about 70 per cent.

Silage corn harvest resumed near Teulon. About 10 per cent grain corn has been harvested, but much of the crop is still at high moisture levels. Early yield reports are below average, at 100 to 120 bu/acre.

Tillage operations continue where possible, and some areas are working well. Producers are picking and choosing fields, with some fields only partly done due to the wet conditions. Some fall fertilizer has been applied on hay and forage fields, while very little has been done on annual cropland.

Pasture and forage fields are rated as 99 per cent in poor condition, having been heavily regrazed after the fall green-up. Pasture moisture conditions are rated as 50 per cent adequate, 50 per cent short. Hayfields in the north Interlake in particular have absorbed most available water.

Cattle are being removed from pasture where possible; others are waiting for yards to dry up prior to bringing cattle herds home for full winter-feeding. Winter feed stocks for hay are rated as 0 per cent adequate; for greenfeed and feed grain are 50 per cent adequate, and 30 per cent adequate or 70 per cent inadequate for straw stocks.

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