Warm dry weather over the past week has continued to advance crop maturity. Some rainfall events happened with strong winds, but amounts varied. Most events were isolated and precipitation amounts were low. The Russell and Birtle areas report around the 2 to 4 mm.
Harvest might start on some fall rye fields by the end of this coming week and producers may start pre-harvest on winter wheat. Fall seeded crops are very uneven due to the cool dry spring.
Spring wheat is in soft to hard dough (filling) stage with early seeded wheat starting to turn and dry-down. Barley is also starting to turn and the heat will bring it in fast. Oats are in the soft dough stage and some early fields are starting to turn. High temperatures are causing some of the crops to dry down too quickly, which will affect effect yield and test weight/quality. Disease issues are showing up on flag leaf, especially in fields not sprayed with fungicide. Some areas are reporting grasshopper activity.
Most of the canola crop has finished flowering, but late seeded canola or reseeded canola is in full bloom. Heat is also affecting the duration of blooming in the canola crop. Bertha Armyworm trap counts still remain at low risk, except for an area around Miniota that is uncertain risk.
Soybean staging is advancing under the warm conditions and are in the late R2 to the R3 stage. Rainfall over the next couple weeks will be needed to help in pod fill.
Pea staging is full pod and starting to dry down. The crop has developed well throughout the year and looks like an average to above average crop. Some disease is showing up in the lower portion of the plants, but may be too late to reduce yield and standability. Some low areas that had some moisture stress are showing more disease issues.
Flax is going is completed flowering and most crops look to be average.
Early seeded corn stage is at tassel and later seeded corn is advancing well with the warm conditions. Rainfall over the next couple weeks will help it finish out. Sunflowers staging is early flower stage (R5.1) and are also advancing well with the heat.
Producers have completed first cut of hay and yields in most areas were below average, but good quality. Producers that took an early first cut have a good second cut coming with average yield expected. Cereal silage is being cut and yields are average to above average in most areas. This will help in the tight feed situation.
Overgrazed pastures are still suffering and are probably not going to come back this year. Producers with this problem will be looking to feed on pasture soon. Dugouts are about 60 per cent full with some producers hauling water as sloughs are drying out.
Good growing conditions in the region this past week and the crop is progressing normally. Daytime temperatures hit highs of 30 C throughout the region. Other than Birch River, Swan River and The Pas, that received 8 to 13 mm, the rest of the region received only trace amounts of precipitation. This has exacerbated conditions in parts of the Northwest that are dry. Soil moisture conditions around Dauphin/Ste. Rose area continue to be short; soils in Swan River are 95 per cent adequate, 5 per cent short; soils at The Pas and Roblin are 100 per cent adequate.
Generally, crops in the region are in average condition and have somewhat compensated for the challenging spring conditions. Crops are advancing as expected. The canola crops continues to develop with the earliest seeded fields nearing completion of flowering and podding. Later seeded or stressed canola fields are still flowering. The hot weather during flowering has resulted in some noticeable pod abortion. Spring cereals are in good condition across the region and are in the milk to soft dough stage. Recent high winds around The Pas have knocked down some of the spring cereals.
Field pea staging in the region are podded and starting to ripen. Soybeans are flowering around Roblin; at Swan River they are in the R2 to R3 stage. Flax is 85 per cent in the boll stage with some late flowering still occurring. Grain corn is V6 to V13 stage of growth.
Monitoring traps for Bertha Armyworm continued for the final week and of the almost 30 traps in the region, the highest cumulative counts were around Ste. Rose at 403, Minitonas 393 and Durban 332. These numbers are in the “uncertain risk” range (300-900) and reflect areas to prioritize when scouting for larvae. While still in the low risk category, a trap at Bowsman had a cumulative count of 290.
Forage and pastures in the region, around McCreary, Alonsa, Ste. Rose, Dauphin, Rorketon, Crane River and Ethelbert are very dry and additional moisture is needed immediately. Dugouts are low across these areas and many have dried up completely. As well, pastures are barely growing and yields will be very low for a second cut.
Annual crops cut for silage are doing well and will be cut in the next couple of weeks. Hay crops are reported to have average yields around The Pas, below average in the Roblin and Swan River areas with the rest of the region reporting 33 per cent of the average yield. Some native hay stands do not have enough growth to support any harvest.
Grasshoppers remain a very big problem in the Dauphin area and are moving into annual crops as well. 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).
Above seasonal temperatures prevailed this week. Day time temperatures in high 20s and night time cooled to the low teens in some places. Humidity has remained high. Soil moisture is being used up rapidly as crops have fully developed and need water to fill grain. No meaningful rain received anywhere in the region this week ranging from 0 to 5 mm. Latest precipitation received a couple of weeks ago has been helpful to carry the crops, but more needed especially as pockets of dryness remain in the region in the central and north east areas.
Early planted cool season crops – wheat, oats and barley are maturing rapidly. Warm or long season crops like corn and soybeans are into the flowering stage and will require more rainfall to adequately supply those plants into the seed filling stage. All fungicide applications complete, including the late reseeded canola fields. Fusarium head blight is showing up in some wheat fields that received more consistent precipitation but levels are rated as low. Some bacterial blight was reported on oats and other cereals. Majority of wheat, oats and barley are in the dough stage. Some barley is near ripe and could be swathed. With the warm to hot and dry conditions forecasted this week those crops will advance rapidly. Pre-harvest treatment is expected to start in mature wheat fields in the Altona area in the coming week. Some winter wheat harvest is reported in the Portage and Altona areas. Fall rye looks ripe and should be ready to harvest within the next week or so.
Corn in the Morden/Winkler and above the escarpment areas looks good as it received some earlier rain events that helped stimulate growth. Corn staging varies from the V11 to silking for the most advanced crops.
Soybean staging in the Altona area are as much as 60 per cent in flower (R3) compared to Portage at about 50 per cent to below 50 per cent above the escarpment. Soybeans could use more rain to help with seed fill especially in the dryer parts of the region. Green clover worm and Thistle caterpillars have been found in some soybean fields but not at economic levels. Soybean aphids are not an issue as crops develop. Field peas are growing well in the later flowering to early ripening stage. Fungicide application have been occurring on edible beans to prevent sclerotinia development.
Most canola fields are completely done flowering while the last reseeded fields are still in the 75 per cent flowering. Bertha armyworm trap counts reported have been low to uncertain in the region and no issues reported to date. Flax is finishing flowering. Sunflowers are in the V12 to R5.2 flowering stage.
Grasshoppers have been causing damage to crops, forage hay and pasture stand fields 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. Potatoes are 2 to 3 inches in size and bulking. No late blight has been detected, but preventative fungicide applications continue. Some low levels of 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 crop is mostly complete with yields 25 to 50 per cent of normal. The poorest tame hay fields in the north are 0.5 round bale/acre. Hay production is below average due to dry conditions, but better than expected in southern areas. Second cut haying has begun where growth sufficient.
Hay and pasture conditions are better where rains were significant otherwise fields are browning as regrowth is minimal or non existent. Straw, greenfeed, silage and other forages will be baled as feed sources. Livestock water supplies are getting lower, affecting water quality and dugouts are running out of water.
Rainfall accumulations across the region last week, ranged from 2 to 20 mm. Highest accumulations tended to occur in northern districts but rainfall amounts were highly variable across the region. While soil moisture was currently adequate in most districts, this was changing quickly given the above average daytime and nighttime temperatures experienced last week. Some areas in northern and southern districts will be short of soil moisture in the coming weeks and need more rainfall to preserve crop yield, particularly for warm season crops. Other areas are better supplied and would prefer continued warm, sunny weather to dry out field areas that are still saturated. Soil moisture conditions on cropland across the region were rated as 90 per cent adequate and 10 per cent short. Soil moisture conditions in hay and pasture lands were rated as 70 per cent adequate and 20 per cent short and 10 per cent very short.
Grasshoppers scouting continues, with presence in many fields. The actual amount of crop damage was highly variable and, as a result, insecticide applications have been spotty. Mowing field margins and hay crop cutting has sometimes caused grasshopper migrations into cropland, which has resulted spraying. Where feasible, field borders or a few outside rounds of the fields are being sprayed. With cereal crops maturing, concerns have shifted more to soybean and canola crops.
Below threshold level of defoliation in soybean from green cloverworm continues to be found. The presence of diamondback larvae at below threshold levels was noted.
Crops continue to advance in staging given the weather conditions. Winter wheat was in hard dough stage. Spring cereals were in soft dough stage. Corn was beginning to tassel with cobs beginning to form with exposed silks. Most soybean crops ranged from the late R2 to the early R4 growth stages. Sunflowers ranged from the R4 to R5 growth stages and canola was completed flowering and pod filling.
Pre-harvest herbicide applications in winter cereals were completed. Winter cereal harvest is expected to begin late this week or right after the long weekend. Pre-harvest applications on some early seeded spring cereals are expected to occur next week. Yellowing of some soybean fields was noted last week relating back to the weather being experienced this growing season. Some late seeded canola fields had lots of flower blasting occurring.
Hayfield conditions were rated as good (20 per cent) fair (40 per cent), poor (20 per cent) and very poor (20 per cent). Pasture conditions rated as good (10 per cent), fair (50 per cent), poor (20 per cent) and very poor (20 per cent). Beef producers were finishing first hay cut with yields of 50 to 60 per cent of normal, but with some reporting only 25 per cent of normal. Alfalfa hay fields are 60 to 70 per cent of normal yields with younger alfalfa stands getting 50 to 75 per cent of normal yields. First cut grass hay yields were 25 to 60 per cent of normal. Dairy farmers have mostly completed second cut and were reporting 80 per cent of normal yields. 5 per cent of first cut hay was standing with 5 per cent cut and 90 per cent baled or silaged. Quality was rated as good. 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. 20 per cent of second cut hay was standing, 10 per cent was cut and 70 per cent was baled or silaged. Second cut alfalfa hay yields were 1.25 tonnes/acre. Availability of livestock water was rated as 100 per cent adequate.
A warmer week again, with daytime temperatures up to 30 to 31 C; daily averages around 20 C. Minimum overnight temperatures ranged from 5 to 10 C. Trace rainfall for most of the region, although higher amounts in thundershowers. Crop growth has improved with rain, warmer temperatures and high humidity. 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.
Forage seed grasses are being harvested; no yield reports to date. Most crops are thinner and shorter than normal. The last seeded flax is still flowering, bolls formed in most fields. Peas are starting to turn; harvest is imminent. Sunflowers are flowering, with majority in early bloom. Most canola is close to fully podded, and in some cases is very stagey, due to earlier stresses. Branching has filled in most fields. In the driest areas, pods are short. Reseeded canola is looking good after the rains, and is flowering.
Most soybean staging at R2 to R3. Majority of fields are looking good, but will need ongoing rains.
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, most fields have tasseled, some early silking. All cereals have rapidly advanced, with the heat and drier conditions. Most in the late milk to dough stage. Some early barley has been cut. Fall rye and winter wheat are close to harvest as well.
Oats have rapidly changed colour. 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. Barley and oat greenfeed has been cut in the south part of the region, and will start shortly in the north. Stands in the northwest are often poor; if there was enough moisture for germination, it was inadequate for further growth.
Grasshopper monitoring continues with some headlands and fields receiving insecticide application. Concern has been mostly in pastures, cereal, forage grass fields and canola, and pressure is higher in the north. 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. Monitoring will continue for diamondback moth and bertha armyworm larvae. Some thistle caterpillar reported in soybeans. Many reports of pupal casings of the beneficial wasps Cotesia sp.
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 rains came. In some situations, it’s herbicide resistant wild oats.
Haying continues where possible. 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. Yields are extremely variable depending on moisture levels; coming in at 30 to 60 per cent of average. Productivity is best on new stands, and fertilized stands. There is more hope for a better second cut, following rains. 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. Rains have greened up some pastures, but in the driest areas, many just continue to just hang on. 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.