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Corn, sunflower, soybeans enter reproductive phase, hay and forage yields far below normal

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for July 23

Southwest Region

Scattered showers and thunderstorms in the region brought some significant rain in few areas and very little in others. Day and nighttime temperature have been above normal, giving crops a big growth boost. Some yellowing occurring in fields due to wet conditions in low spots, but with improved conditions this past week, they are disappearing.

Majority of southern parts of the region have good to excellent moisture. Some isolated areas north of Highway 16, could use more rain. Pre-harvest herbicide application starting on early maturing winter cereals, but 80 per cent of winter wheat fields at hard dough stage. Ergot levels are observed to be very low in fall rye.

Spring cereals are start to turn quickly, due to hot and humid weather. Most early seeded fields are at soft dough stage. Fungicide applications are 90 per cent completed. Very low levels of fusarium showing up in early seeded crops.

Canola is at multiple stages. Early seeded canola is finishing flowering, while late and reseeded canola fields in full bloom. A majority of the crop had fungicide applications due to high sclerotinia risk. Field peas are podding well. Some yellow spots in the low areas of the field after last week storm and big rains. Majority of the fields look good.

Soybean continue to respond to heat and moisture. 60 to 70 per cent of soybean fields are at R2 to R3 stage. Some fields have green cloverworm and grasshopper damage, but defoliation ha been minimal. Leaf diseases are also at low level depending on the field and moisture conditions, but some fields showing higher levels of bacterial blight and septoria brown spot. Nodulation is excellent in most fields. Some early seeded corn is starting to silk and is looking very promising for yield.

Bertha armyworm trap counts are at an uncertain risk range, in some areas, but still below a threshold.

Producers are advised to scout for bertha and diamondback moth larvae. Very few reports of pea aphids found to date.

First cut hay is 50 per cent complete, with yields below average, but good quality. Recent rains have slowed down cutting and baling. Second cut for producers, that had an early first cut early, looks good. Pastures have benefited from the rain and most in fair condition. Dugouts are 60 per cent full, but some producers have started to haul water to livestock.

Northwest Region

Good growing conditions in the region this past week and the crop is progressing well. Daytime temperatures hovered around 25°C and there was widespread rain along with heavy morning dews. Rainfall amounts ranged from ~15 mm in the Dauphin/Ste. Rose area; Swan River/Minitonas about 17 mm; Grandview 39 mm and The Pas approximately 25 mm. Roblin area received the most rainfall last week at 50 mm.

Rain and favourable weather conditions have helped crops to recover from prolonged dry spring conditions. Soil moisture around Dauphin/Ste. Rose area continue to be short; soils in Swan River, The Pas and Roblin are 100 per cent adequate.

There was good advancement in crop growth in the region; most fields look clean with good weed control. The canola crop 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 starting to turn colour and are in the milk to soft dough stage. Field peas in the region are podding and starting to mature. Soybeans are flowering around Roblin and Swan River and are in the R1 stage. 60 per cent 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 but not in high numbers; producers are encouraged to scout fields for these pests before making spray decisions. From the 30 Bertha armyworm monitoring traps in the 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 occurring as conditions and staging allows. Variable weather with rain and heavy morning dew is causing fluctuations to the fusarium head blight (FHB) risk map for the region. Generally, crops in the region are in average condition and have somewhat compensated for the challenging spring conditions.

Haying has been delayed due to recent rains, and will resume with stable forecast and clearer weather. Hay yields are reporting to be very low with 30 to 50 per cent of normal, although newer fields are reporting somewhat higher yields at 50 to 60 per cent of normal. Pastures are improving with the additional moisture; however, water sources continue to be low or very low on pastures.

Grasshoppers continue to be a major problem throughout the area, on both pastures and hay fields. Annual crops are starting to improve that are intended for silage and greenfeed. Hayfield conditions are rated as good (20 per cent) to fair (40 per cent), the balance being poor to very poor. Pasture conditions rated as good (10 per cent) to fair (40 per cent), poor (20 per cent) and very poor (30 per cent).

Central Region

Moderate to heavy rains fell across the region on Wednesday bringing anywhere from trace to 41 mm as it progressed from west to east. Cypress River received the highest amounts, while Altona and Starbuck receiving less than 2 mm. Seasonal to above seasonal temperatures prevailed with daytime highs nearing 30°C and overnight lows dropping as low as 8°C in some places. Relative humidity has remained high. Soil moisture is considered adequate for rapid crop growth. Most rainfall has been absorbed by soils, but some ponding in low areas of fields and some crops turning yellow as a result, but overall impact is considered minimal.

Wheat, oats and barley advancing well. All cereal fungicide applications complete. Fusarium Head Blight found in some wheat fields that received more consistent precipitation. Bacterial blight has become visible on oats and other cereals. Majority of wheat and oats are in the milk stage, but with hot and dry conditions forecasted, they should advance rapidly. Fall rye is turning and should be ready to harvest in a next couple of weeks.

Corn growth has occurred at a rapid pace with the continued hot and moist soil conditions. Corn in the Morden/Winkler area looks good as it received some earlier rain events that helped expedite growth. Corn staging varies from the V9 to tasseling, in the most advanced and well developing crops. Soybeans and edible beans that were showing stress from dry conditions have improved with recent rain. Soybeans staging in the Altona area are as much as 80 per cent in flower (R1) compared to Portage at about 50 per cent. Soybeans could use more rain to help with seed set, but are doing well. Green cloverworm and Thistle caterpillars have been found in some soybean fields, but not at economic levels.

Fungicide applications occurring on field peas and edible beans to prevent foliar disease development. Canola staging varies widely across the region. Some fields are 100 per cent done flowering with others still at 50 per cent. Majority of fungicide applications are complete other than some late reseeded fields. Some of those were sprayed by air since rain made fields inaccessible.

Bertha armyworm trap counts so far remain relatively low with a few more weeks of monitoring remaining. Grasshopper spraying has occurred in some fields in the Red River Valley, and some soybean fields in the northwest part of the region have been sprayed as well. Flax is flowering and foliar fungicides applied to fields at risk of disease development. Sunflowers staging is V10 to bud formation (R1).

Potato tubers are 2 to 4 inches in size and bulking. No late blight has been detected, but preventative fungicide application continues. Some minor early blight has been found. Overall low insect pressure from aphids and Colorado potato beetle, however some fields were sprayed for potato beetle.

First cut hay is mostly complete with yields running one quarter to half of normal. Hay production is well below average due to dry spring conditions. Second cut hay and pasture is looking better where rains were significant otherwise, fields are browning, as regrowth is minimal or non-existent. Producers are expressing concern with the poor hay crop and potential feed shortages. Straw, greenfeed, silage and other forages will be baled as a source of feed. Weaning calves early and creep feeding have been used to manage dry pasture conditions. Livestock water supplies are getting low, affecting water quality and dugouts are running out of water.

Eastern Region

Rainfall accumulations ranged from 2 mm to over 25 mm. Some areas west of Beausejour experienced intense, localized hailstorms, causing significant crop damage. Low spots with waterlogged soils have seen yellowing, particularly soybeans and wheat. Field access has been limited. Farms in northern parts of the region that had lower rainfall amounts in previous weeks, were particularly pleased to see more rain.

A few final fungicide applications on late seeded/re-seeded crop occurred by ground or plane, depending on field access.

Grasshopper scouting continued with some insecticide applications occurring in southern and northern districts. Most often, grasshoppers were controlled in cereals but limited acres of soybeans have also been sprayed. Amount of crop damage has been highly variable and, as a result, insecticide applications have been localized. Mowing of field margins and cutting bordering hay crops has sometimes caused grasshopper movement into cropland, resulting in the need for spraying.

Cereal armyworm scouting and damage has also warranted control in a significant number of acres of fall/spring cereals and some forage seed crops in the Lac du Bonnet and Whitemouth areas.

Green cloverworm feeding in soybeans continues, though still below economic thresholds. Diamondback moth larvae and lygus bugs noted at below threshold. Pre-harvest herbicide applications in winter cereals are expected to begin this week.

Winter wheat has reached the soft dough stage, while spring cereals were in the milk to early dough stage. Corn staging ranged from V10 to V12 with some earlier varieties tasselling (VT). Most soybean staging is late R1 to the R2 growth stage. Sunflowers staging is R2 (flowering) . Canola ranged from 70 per cent to completed flowering with pods set occurring.

Hayfields rated as good (20 per cent), fair (40 per cent), with the remainder poor to very poor. Pasture conditions rated as good (10 per cent) to fair (50 per cent), with the remainder poor to very poor. Beef producers baled their first cut hay, with reported yields of 50 to 60 per cent normal. Areas receiving 150 mm or more rainfall from the previous week had standing water in crop and hay fields.

Livestock have been rotated through pastures, as rains helped boost growth. Cutting of grass hayfields yielded 40 to 50 per cent of normal. First cut hay is 80 per cent cut and/or baled to date, mostly with good quality. Average hay yields were 1.0 tonne/acre for alfalfa, 0.75 tonne/acre for grass/alfalfa hay, 0.5 tonne/acre for other tame hay and a 0.25 tonne/acre for wild hay. Dugouts in some areas are still reporting very low levels. Availability of livestock water was rated as 100 per cent adequate.

Interlake Region

Temperatures were cooler this past week, with daytime temperatures ranging from 26 to close to 28°C. Minimum overnight temperatures ranged from 5 to 9°C. Crop growth has improved with rain, warmer temperatures and high humidity. Rainfall ranged from 4 mm to 20 mm, with some areas seeing as much as 25 mm to 40 mm in thundershowers. Any precipitation is welcome and 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 50 to 75 per cent of the crops and short to very short for the remaining acres.

The last seeded flax is flowering, bolls formed in most fields. Peas are shorter than normal, and in full flower/podding. Desiccation may occur in the earliest maturing peas by week end. Sunflowers are growing well, buds are forming and there is the odd early flower (R1). Early canola is done flowering. Stands are thin side and in some cases very stagey, due to earlier stresses, but branching is evident in many fields. In the driest areas, pods are short. Reseeded canola is looking good after the rains, and is flowering.

Most soybean staging R1 to R2, with a few fields at R3; majority of fields are short. As with all crops, stands are stagey and short due to early dry and cold conditions. Colour has improved in all fields. Nodulation is generally reported as excellent.

Most corn, both grain and silage has improved in both growth, colour and height with the rains and warm temperatures. It’s anticipated that silage yields will be higher than first expected. Grain corn staging, tasseling (VT) has started in the southern part of the region. Cereals have rapidly advanced with most in the late milk to dough stage. Some early barley is expected to be swathed this week. Fall rye and winter wheat are close to harvest as well.

Colour change is evident in many cereal crops, including oats. Crops have dried out on sandy ridges, evident in cereals and canola. There is some regrowth from the crown in oats, which will complicate harvest. Some greenfeed stands are thinner than normal, and in the driest areas are not doing well, especially if later seeded. Barley and oat greenfeed has been cut in the south part of the region, and will start to come off in the next week or so in the north. Some alfalfa was terminated after first cut, and seeded to barley or oats for greenfeed. Stands in the northwest are often poor; if there was enough moisture for germination, it was inadequate for further growth.

Grasshoppers are being monitored, some headlands and fields have received insecticide application. Concern has been mostly in pastures, cereal, forage grass fields and canola. Flax fields affected, have seen considerable injury. Armyworms have been reported in wheat and barley fields and are being closely monitored. Insecticide applications were made to a number of fields in the

Teulon area. Lygus bugs have been a problem in trefoil and seed alfalfa fields in the Arborg area and second insecticide applications are being done. Most diamondback moth larvae have matured to the pupal or cocoon stage and moths will be emerging. Bertha armyworm counts are relatively low. Some thistle caterpillar reported in soybeans. Aphids reported in some cereal fields, below threshold. Many reports of pupal casings of the beneficial wasps Cotesia sp. Producers are choosing beneficial-friendly insecticide options.

Green wild oats are now poking through maturing crops. In many cases, there were none present at the time of herbicide application, but germinated once the rains came. In some situations, herbicide resistant wild oats are evident above the crop canopy.

Forage availability continues to be a big concern for the region, especially as many producers have exhausted their surplus feed supplies. Producers are cutting everything possible. Rains have greened up some pastures, but in the driest areas, many just continue to just hang on. Yields are extremely variable depending on moisture levels; yields are coming in at 30 to 60 per cent of average production. Productivity is best on new stands, and fertilized stands. There is more hope for a second cut following rains, and may be better than first cut. As crops are short, availability of cereal straw will be limited. Timothy seed fields that were written off are being baled. There will be demand for corn stover.

Pastures are rated as fair (20 per cent), poor (20 per cent) to very poor (60 per cent). Hay fields rated as fair (30 per cent), poor (20 per cent) to very poor (40 per cent). Topsoil moisture for hay and pasture is rated as 50 per cent short and 50 per cent very short.

Dugout levels are quite variable; all are declining, some are dry. Water quality is a concern in low dugouts. Water supply is rated as 50 to 60 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. The recent rains have not provided sufficient relief.

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