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Cereal harvest begins in Manitoba, hay, forage yields well below average

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for August 6

Southwest Region

Higher than normal temperatures prevailed with very little to no rain across the region. Scattered showers in Russell and Birtle areas amounted to less than 5 mm. Crops are showing symptoms of prolonged dry weather and in some cases, soils are close to the permanent wilting point. Most winter cereals are close to the pre-harvest herbicide stage. Low fusarium level in winter wheat and low levels of ergot in fall rye being reported. Winter wheat harvest has begun in near Brandon and eastern parts of the region. No yield reports at this time.

The majority of the canola crop is at the pod-filling stage. Reseeded fields are finishing flowering. Dry weather and excessive heat is causing reduced pod fill and flower blasting. Very low levels of sclerotinia this year in canola. No reports of any insect damages at this stage. Bertha armyworm trap counts are in the low to uncertain range as the counts wrap up.

Spring cereals are ripening quickly. Most of the crop maturing well without any major issues.

Fusarium head blight is showing up especially in unsprayed fields of spring wheat, but incidence is very low at this stage. Majority of the crop is at hard dough stage. There will be some swathing activity at the end of this week in these crops.

Soybean staging is at R3 to R4. Majority of the crop looks green and tall with no major signs of water shortage. Any precipitation will be appreciated at this stage for pod fill. No reports of any soybean aphids. Field Peas are looking promising without any major concerns. Most of the crop is ripening to dry down stage with some pre-harvest products being applied. Some pea aphids have been noted but crop stage is past damage point. Some initial pea harvest has begun in lighter soil zones with no yield reports yet.

Flax fields are finishing flowering. No major disease presence this year. Some lodging is visible in low-lying areas. Sunflowers are starting to flower, at R5.1 to R.3. There are some reports of insect damage, but no spraying so far.

Corn is advancing well and benefitting from hot weather conditions, but needs rain. Majority of the crop is in R1 stage. Grasshoppers are present in all crops and along roadside ditches. Crop loss is minor to non- significant to date and no reports of spraying in the area.

Pastures are declining rapidly with the excessively hot, dry weather. Pasture management is making some difference, but poor soil moisture reserves are affecting the entire region. Reports of dugouts drying out are coming in from the northern and southern portions of the region. Dugout levels are generally low, about 50 per cent of normal capacity. Cooler weather and precipitation are needed immediately to boost annual feeds and pastures.

Northwest Region

There was good growing conditions in the region this past week and the crop is progressing well. Daytime temperatures hovered around 25°C and there were widespread rain showers along with heavy morning dews.

Roblin area received the most rainfall last week at 50 mm. These showers as well as favourable weather conditions have helped crops to recover and somewhat compensate for the challenging spring conditions. Soil moisture conditions around Dauphin/Ste. Rose area continue to be short; soils in Swan River, The Pas and Roblin are 100 per cent adequate.

Grasshoppers continue to be a major problem throughout the region on both pastures and hay fields.

There was good progress in crop growth in the region; most fields look clean with good weed control. Canola continues to advance and, with the exception of very late seeded or stressed fields, 100 per cent of the crop is flowering. Spring cereals are heading out and starting to turn and are in the milk to soft dough stage. The field peas in the region are podding up and starting to mature. Soybeans are flowering around Roblin and Swan River and are in the R1 stage. Sixty percent of the flax crop is flowering with the earlier seeded fields in the boll stage. Silage corn around Roblin is in good to poor condition.

Diamondback moth larvae are present in some fields. Of the almost 30 monitoring traps for Bertha Armyworm in the Northwest region, the highest cumulative counts are around Ste. Rose at 322 and Minitonas at 323. These numbers are in the “uncertain risk” range and reflect areas to prioritize when scouting for larvae. Fungicide applications are occurring as conditions and staging allows.

Showers have been more widespread throughout the region; however haying has become delayed due to the moisture and will resume as forecasts look more stable with clearer weather. Hay yields are reporting to be very low at 30 to 50 per cent of normal although newer fields are reporting higher yields at 50 to 60 per cent of normal. Pastures are improving with the additional moisture, however water sources dugouts and creeks, continue to be low or very low on pastures.

Small improvements are visible on annual crops that are intended for silage and greenfeed. Hayfield conditions are rated as good (20 per cent), fair (40 per cent), and 40 per cent poor to very poor. Pasture conditions rated as good (10 per cent), fair (40 per cent), poor (20 per cent) and very poor (30 per cent).

Central Region

Seasonal to above seasonal temperatures prevailed, with high relative humidity. A thunderstorm occurred across the south-central part of the region on Wednesday evening bringing welcome moisture to crops in that area. Surface runoff from intense rainfall did occur in some places. Crop available water is rapidly being taken up to complete grain fill. More rain is needed to carry late season crops. Some wilting is being seen in sunflower and corn is particularly dry areas with light soils.

Winter wheat and fall rye harvest is underway along with perennial ryegrass in the Red River Valley. Reported winter wheat yields range between 60 to 70 bu/ac in the Altona area.

Fall rye, spring wheat, oats and barley are maturing rapidly. Fusarium head blight is showing up in some wheat fields that received more consistent precipitation, but infection levels are rated as low. The majority of spring cereals are in the late dough to ripe stage. Some barley is ripe with some swathed and ready to be harvested. With the warm to hot and dry conditions forecasted this week, those crops will advance rapidly. Pre-harvest weed control spraying continues in mature wheat fields.

Corn near Morden/Winkler and west of the escarpment looks good as it received some earlier rain events that helped stimulate growth. Corn staging varies from pollinating to blister for the most advanced and well-developed crops.

Soybeans in the Altona area are in the R4 to R5 stage or beginning seed whereas above the escarpment R4 would be more typical. Soybeans could use rain to help with seed fill especially in the drier parts of the region like the Red River Valley. Soybean aphids have not been an issue to date. Field peas have progressed well and are now in the R7 stage or ripe and drying down, harvesting will begin this week.

Most canola fields are completely done flowering. Swathing of canola fields is reported in the Red River Valley, and more is expected this week. Bertha armyworm traps report low to uncertain risk in the region and no issues reported to date from this pest. Flax is finishing flowering. Sunflowers are from R5.1 to R5.5 stage.

Grasshoppers have been causing damage to fields, forage hay and pasture stands in various parts of the region. They continue to be watched and have required field edge to entire field treatment depending on the population and feeding damage found.

Potato fields are looking good with tubers bulking well. No late blight has been detected but preventative fungicide applications continue. Some low level early blight has been found. Overall low insect pressure from aphids and Colorado potato beetle, however some fields were sprayed for potato beetle. Irrigation of potato and vegetable fields is occurring where needed to maintain soil moisture and support growth.

First cut hay is mostly complete with yields running 25 per cent to 50 per cent of normal. The driest tame hay fields in the northern area are 0.5 round bale/ac. Hay production is below average, but better than expected in southwestern areas. Second cut haying has begun where regrowth was sufficient. Regrowth is minimal or non-existent in drier areas. Supplementing feed on pasture is expected to begin, if not already started in areas with poorest pasture conditions. Straw, greenfeed, silage and other forages will be baled as a source of feed. Livestock water supplies are decreasing, affecting water quality and dugouts are running dry.

Eastern Region

Dry conditions prevailed across the region with many areas receiving no rainfall, with soil moisture status decreasing quickly. Producers are concerned about losing yield potential, particularly in warm season crops. Soil moisture conditions on cropland across the region were rated as adequate (70 per cent), short (20 per cent) and very short (10 per cent). Soil moisture conditions in hay and pasture lands were rated as adequate (30 per cent), short (40 per cent) and very short (30 per cent).

Grasshopper scouting continues throughout the region, primarily in soybeans and canola given that cereal crops were maturing quickly. Below threshold, levels of defoliation from green cloverworm in soybeans continued to be found. The presence of diamondback larvae in canola at below threshold levels continued to be noted. Lygus bugs have been controlled through insecticide in confectionary sunflowers.

Winter cereal pre-harvest applications in are now complete. Winter wheat harvest is ongoing. Early yield reports were 70 bu/ac with a few reports as high as 90 bu/ac. Pre-harvest applications on spring cereals will continue this week. Some harvesting of early seeded spring wheat is expected to begin this weekend. Barley harvest began last week with early yield reports averaging 75 bu/ac. Harvesting of forage grass seed was also ongoing.

Spring cereals were in mid dough to ripe. Corn was tasseling with cobs forming. Soybean crops ranged from the late R3 to the early R5 growth stages. Sunflowers ranged within the R5 growth stage and canola was pod filling with some fields showing signs of ripening.

Hayfield and pasture conditions were rated as 30 per cent good to fair, poor (40 per cent) and very poor (30 per cent). Beef producers mostly finished first cut with most reported yields between 50 to 60 per cent of normal, but with some reporting only 25 per cent of normal. Alfalfa hay fields were recording 60 to 70 per cent of normal yields. Some grain crops were harvested as greenfeed, particularly those stands lacking soil moisture. For first cut hay, 5 per cent was still standing with 5 per cent cut and 90 per cent baled or silaged. Quality was rated as good. Average hay yields were one tonne/ac for alfalfa, 0.75 tonne/ac for grass/alfalfa hay, 0.5 tonne/ac for other tame hay and 0.25 tonne/ac for wild hay. For second cut hay, 20 per cent was standing, 10 per cent was cut and 70 per cent was baled or silaged. Second cut alfalfa hay yields were 1.25 tonnes/ac. Overall, second cut was mostly done with some producers reporting yields of 80 to 90 per cent of normal but others reporting only 50 to 60 per cent of normal. Dairy farmers are hoping for a good third cut. Dugouts were starting to get low and drying up completely in some areas. Availability of livestock water was rated as adequate (80 per cent) and inadequate (20 per cent).

Interlake Region

A warmer week, with daytime temperatures up to 30 to 33°C; daily averages around 20°C. Minimum overnight temperatures were down to 3 to 5°C. Trace rainfall for most of the region, although higher amounts with thundershowers. Humidity levels remain high. Rain is needed as all areas, particularly the north and east part of the region, remain short for moisture. Some crops still hang on from shower to shower. Topsoil moisture is currently adequate for around 50 per cent of the crops and short to very short for the remaining acres.

Forage seed grasses are being harvested. Early yield reports of around 200 lbs meadow fescue, 500 lbs tall fescue, 500 to 900 lbs perennial ryegrass, lower due to lack of rainfall.

Early yield reports 70 to 90 bu/ac winter wheat, and 65 to 85 bu/ac fall rye.

The last seeded flax is in late flower. Most fields are showing some colour change. Peas are turning; harvest is starting. Canola is fully podded. Some swathing has started. Flowering in late seeded and re-seeded canola tailing off. Reseeded canola is looking good in fields that have received adequate rainfall.

Most soybeans have advanced to R4. Majority of fields are looking good, but will need ongoing rains; extremely dry soils are a concern for all later maturing crops. Corn has tasseled and is silking; dry conditions are a concern for adequate pollination. All cereals have rapidly advanced, with the heat and drier conditions; premature ripening is evident in the driest areas. A few cereal fields have been harvested, with early yields at 65 to 85 bu/ac barley and 50 to 55 bu/ac spring wheat. Some oats have been swathed. Harvesting will become more general by next week. Pre- harvest glyphosate is being applied to crops.

Crops have dried out on sandy ridges, evident in cereals and canola. All crops are stagey, and shorter than normal. Short cereal fields have the problem of not enough straw for an adequate swath; some may have to switch to straight cut. Early greenfeed has been harvested; yields will be better than later seeded crops. Stands in the northwest are often poor; if there was enough moisture for germination, it was inadequate for further growth.

Grasshoppers continue to be monitored, some headlands and fields have received insecticide application. Concern has been mostly in pastures, cereal, forage grass fields, canola and corn, and pressure is higher in the north. Most grasshoppers have reached maturity. Monitoring will continue for diamondback moth and bertha armyworm larvae. The odd field with more than one insect issue has been sprayed, where diamondback moth larvae are close to threshold. Some thistle caterpillar reported in soybeans. Predator insects are being reported in good numbers.

Green wild oats are evident in a number of fields. Lambsquarters are poking through in canola now that the crop is maturing. Kochia is becoming more evident, especially at field edges and saline areas – testing for glyphosate resistance should be a priority, especially when found in glyphosate tolerant crops.

Haying continues where possible. 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. As crops are short, availability of cereal straw will be limited. Almost all pastures have been grazed down, and are rated in poor condition. Topsoil moisture for hay and pasture is rated as 50 per cent short and 50 per cent very short.

Dugout levels are declining, some are dry. Water quality is a concern in low dugouts. Water supply is rated as 40 to 50 per cent adequate, but significant rain is needed for replenishment. Water hauling to pasture troughs is becoming more common in north Interlake. Some wells are being drilled deeper. Concern over adequate supply is increasing with continued dry conditions.

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