Rain and cooler temperatures have delayed swathing in late seeded canola and have rejuvenated soybean crops. Showers early last week, 5 to 10 mm rain was widespread. Minnedosa, Neepawa and areas north of Highway 16 are still suffering serious moisture shortages as most of these areas are only 50 to 70 per cent of normal accumulated rainfall since May 1.
Overall, harvest is 5 per cent complete, mostly restricted to cereals and peas.
Winter wheat harvest is complete with average yields and good quality. Canola is maturing quickly with changing pod and seed colour. Early seeded canola is in swath, while later seeded canola is showing more moisture stress. Some bird and grasshopper damage present in canola fields, along with late flea beetle pressure. Flax fields are now at ripening and in the dry down stage of development. Most flax crops are looking promising, but weeds could be an issue in few fields at harvest.
Wheat, oats, and barley are at or near harvest timing. About 5 per cent of crops taken off to date. Reported yields are average to above average with good quality and test weight.
Soybeans have reached R6, pod- fill stage. Grasshopper damage is evident in many areas. Half of the pea crop is harvested so far, the rest will finish this week. Yields are 50 to 60bu/ac with good quality. Corn silks are drying up and the cobs are starting to swell. Recent larger rains favouring yield, however cool weather has slowed maturity progress.
Sunflowers are starting to enter R6 to R7 (flowering complete), though some are still in the R5.9 stage. Hemp is dropping lower leaves as part of the maturation process.
Soil moisture going into the winter cereal seeding season is somewhat scarce, despite last week’s rains. However, regular rainfall in the next few weeks will go a long way to insuring good germination and establishment.
Pastures are entering their final stages before dormancy. Most haying is complete now. Second and even third cuts are down and final haying is underway. Most pastures are drying off and producers are hoping to complete their harvest before turning cattle out to stubble graze. Reports of some producers feeding on pasture. Dugouts are 40 per cent full.
Crops in the Northwest region again experienced a range in temperatures, with daytime temperatures reaching mid to high 20’s, while over night temperatures dipped low with Roblin and Laurier area down to 1.9 and 1.4 C respectively. A quick thundershower in the Swan Valley region brought 5 to 20 mm. Most of the region experienced strong winds throughout the weekend as well. In general, areas that have been short of precipitation throughout the season are expected to have below average yield, while areas that did receive some precipitation expect to see average yields. The lack of soil moisture in some areas has become apparent recently as some crops have exhausted their efforts.
Field pea harvest continues in the Roblin and Swan Valley region – with yields so far reported as below to average. Pre-harvest glyphosate applications in spring wheat continue as staging is reached and harvest has started in the Swan Valley area; is underway in the Dauphin/Ste. Rose /Gilbert Plains area. Canola continues to mature throughout the region and swathing is underway in the Dauphin area, and a small start in the Swan Valley and Roblin areas. Soybeans are at the R4- R5 stage, but have been slow to fill; silage corn is cobbed and maturing; Fababeans continue to mature; flax continues to mature.
Bertha Armyworm larvae have started to show up in canola, with low numbers so far. A reminder to monitor regularly as a number of traps had counts that reached the “uncertain” category; these include Durban, Minitonas, Bowsman and Ste. Rose. Thistle caterpillar have also been noted in soybean fields. Grasshoppers continue to be an issue in crops and pastures/hayfields.
Greenfeed and cereal silage harvest continues with early reports of average yield. In the drier parts of the region, producers are hopeful corn silage will yield 10 tons/acre, far below normal. Livestock producers across the region are taking crops not worth harvesting for grain as greenfeed and silage including soybeans, wheat and canola. Fields that have been infested with weeds like kochia when spring forage establishment was unsuccessful are being put up for feed. Pea straw and grass seed residue are also being baled for feed. Sourcing of winter feed is well underway with producers considering straw based rations as well as purchasing hay where shortfalls are experienced.
Very little to no second cut hay in much of the Ethelbert, Rorketon, Eddystone and Alonsa areas with yields reported to be about 30 to 50 per cent of normal. Second cut alfalfa yields have been reported around 60 per cent of normal in the Roblin and Swan River areas. Those fields that have not already been harvested for second cut should not be harvested until after a killing frost to respect the critical fall harvest period for winter survival.
Pasture conditions are diminishing quickly in the region, particularly continuously grazed pastures. Dugouts are also very low or dry around Ethelbert, Rorketon, Eddystone and Alonsa with dugout levels reported to be 0 to 40 per cent of capacity. Around Roblin and Swan River, dugouts are at 30 to 50 per cent of normal capacity.
Seasonal temperatures prevailed during the week. Rainfall this past week was highest on the escarpment with as much as 25 mm in the Manitou area gradually dropping toward the east and north. Topsoil moisture is good in the areas that received recent rains but poor for many parts of the region hastening early maturing crops to ripen and dry down rapidly. Rain is needed for late maturing crops now in the sensitive seed filling stage.
Harvest of wheat, oats and barley is going full swing in the Red River Valley and northern part of the region while just beginning above the escarpment. Those early season crops are maturing rapidly and harvesting of those crops is picking up pace currently at about 20 to 25 per cent of cereals harvested.
Late season crops are into the grain fill stage and are in need of additional rain. Spring wheat yields in the Red River Valley are reported in the 50 to 80 bu/ac, with low fusarium damaged kernels (FDK). Harvested barley yielding well in the 80 to 120 bu/ac range, and low vomitoxin levels. Oat yields range from 100 to 135 bu/ac. Pre-harvest products continue to be applied. Winter wheat and fall rye harvest is mostly done in the Red River Valley while still progressing above the escarpment. Winter wheat yields reported in the 60 to 70 bu/ac range, while fall rye is yielding 50 to 80 bu/ac and of good grade and low FDK. As the cereal crops are harvested, much of the straw is being baled to increase wintering feed supplies.
Corn is in the seed filling stage (R2 to R3) and could use rain. In some areas, cob development is limited for lack of moisture. More advanced and well developed corn crops are into the dough stage (R4).
Soybeans are in the R5 to R6 stage whereas above the escarpment R5 would be more typical. Soybeans need a good rain to help seed fill, especially in the Red River Valley where plant wilting is noticeable. Soybean aphids continue to be a non-issue this year. Field pea harvest is well underway as the crop matured and is drying down rapidly. Reported yields are in the 40 to 65 bu/ac and good quality grain. Some pea straw is being dropped and baled as potential livestock feed source. Field beans are podded and starting to turn to a yellow colour, a sign of maturity.
Canola fields are done flowering and podded. Swathing of canola fields is most advanced in the Red River Valley, and some have been harvested with yields in the 25 to 45 bu/ac range. Flax is in the boll stage and is turning rapidly. Sunflowers are nearly done flowering and conditions have improved with the recent rains. Grasshoppers are causing visible feeding damage to fields in various parts of the region as they reach developmental maturity. They continue to be watched and have required field edge to entire field treatment depending on the population and damage found.
Potato fields are looking good with tubers bulking well. Irrigation of potato and vegetable fields is occurring where needed to maintain soil moisture and support growth.
Hay production is well below average due to dry conditions but better than expected in southern areas. Second cut haying is wrapping up where growth was sufficient. In southern areas, second cut yields are better than first cut and quality is good. Concern for the critical fall period when cutting now. Growth may not be sufficient to recharge root reserves because of the dryness. Hay and pasture conditions are better where rains were significant otherwise fields are browning off as regrowth is non-existent.
Producers are considering having to supplement cattle on pasture. Ditches have been mowed to increase feed supplies and complement the poor hay crop. Even in relatively higher rainfall areas, pastures have stopped growing due to moisture stress. Straw, greenfeed, silage and other forages are being baled as a source of feed. Poor crops otherwise intended for grain are being harvested/baled for cattle feed. Livestock water supplies continue to drop. Grasshoppers are damaging crops, hay and pasture stands.
Dry conditions continued last week across the Eastern region with most areas not receiving any significant rainfall (less than 5 mm). Rainfall that did occur was isolated and sporadic across the region. Ultimately, most areas did not receive enough rainfall to improve soil moisture conditions, which continued to deteriorate across the Eastern region. More districts in the region became short or very short of soil moisture last week and producers were concerned about losing yield potential, particularly in warm season crops. Soil moisture conditions on cropland across the region were rated as 60 per cent adequate. 30 per cent short and 10 per cent very short.
As producers started harvest, concerns around grasshoppers causing defoliation in soybeans and pod feeding in canola decreased. The advancing growth stages of both crops also had an influence with canola become less attractive to the insects and soybeans becoming more tolerant of defoliation. However, some concerns do remain soybean fields continue to be monitored.
Pre-harvest applications on spring cereals were completed and harvesting began last week with rapid progress made to date. Across the region about 40 per cent of spring wheat was harvested with an average yield of around 60 bu/ac. Quality was noted as good but protein levels were mixed with reports ranging from 11 per cent to greater than 13 per cent. Oats harvesting was approximately 30 per cent complete with an average yield of around 70 bu/ac. Barley harvest was completed with an average yield of around 70 bu/ac. Overall harvest progress was about 20 per cent. Canola swathing and pre-harvest applications continued across the region with some harvesting expected to start next week. Signs of moisture stress in long season crops was noted including wilting in soybean fields and the firing off of lower leaves in corn. These symptoms are now becoming general across many fields in the Eastern region and some yield potential is being lost in these long season crops. Sunflowers were tolerating the dry conditions and remained in good condition.
Pasture conditions were rated as 30 per cent fair, 40 per cent poor and 30 per cent very poor. Beef producers finished first cut with most saying yields had been 50 to 60 per cent of normal with some reporting 25 per cent of normal. Alfalfa hay fields were getting yields that were 60 to 75 per cent of normal. Some grain crops were being harvested as greenfeed, particularly those stands suffering from a lack of soil moisture. Second cut was mostly done with 50 to 90 per cent of normal. Dugouts were starting to get low and drying up completely in some areas. Availability of livestock water was rated as 80 per cent adequate. Winter feed supplies were rated as 60 per cent adequate and 40 per cent inadequate for hay, 80 per cent adequate and 20 per cent inadequate for straw, 70 per cent adequate and 30 per cent inadequate for greenfeed and 80 per cent adequate and 20 per cent inadequate for feed grain.
A few locations received 10 mm of rain this week and higher amounts in cloudbursts, but trace amounts continue for most of the region. Humidity levels remain high overnight. All areas are short on moisture, particularly the north and east parts of the region. Total accumulations to date are 40 to 60 per cent of normal. Crops continue to hang on from shower to shower. Daytime wilting is evident in longer season crops; some do not recover overnight. Topsoil moisture is minimal.
Most forage seed grass crops have been harvested. Early yield reports of around 200 lbs/ac meadow fescue, 500 lbs/ac tall fescue, 500 to 900 lbs/ac perennial ryegrass. All yields lower due to lack of rainfall in critical fill period. Reports of timothy crops baled as seed set didn’t warrant harvest. Seed trefoil is being harvested; no yield reports to date.
Early yield reports 60 to 75 bu/ac winter wheat, and 55 to 80 bu/ac hybrid fall rye. Flax fields are showing good colour change, and straw has ripened, unlike most years. Early pea yields are reported in 45 to 65 bu/ac range. Swathing is complete in most of the intended canola acres, the majority of pre-harvest treatments are complete. In the driest areas, pod fill at the top portion of the plants is poor. Later seeded and re-seeded canola is podded.
Cereal harvest is well underway, with early barley yields at 50 to 90 bu/ac. Spring wheat is yielding 40 to 80 bu/ac, with the higher yields coming from CNHR varieties. Oats are coming in at 70 to 130 bu/ac. Good quality and weight reported in much of the harvested cereals. Swathing continues, but majority of fields will be straight cut. Most fields are short, and volume of swaths make combining a challenge. Late tillering is a concern in some oats and wheat; either swathing or pre-harvest may be necessary in these fields. Some will let crop stand, possible with the extended dry conditions.
Cereal straw is being dropped; baling is right behind the combine and bales are being removed from fields within a short period of time. More acres than normal are being baled.
Crop yields are quite variable, and are dependent on where the rains fell. Crop on heavier textured fields have more moisture available to them, and has dried out on sandy ridges, evident in cereals, canola and soybeans. All crops are stagey, and shorter than normal.
Soybean pod set has been good, but rains will be need to fill properly. Top pods are drying off. In some cases, fields are yellowing, drying down prematurely. Sunflowers are near the end of flowering. Corn continues to advance; dry conditions are a concern for final yield. Cobs formed have fewer rows than average. Silage corn yields will be lower than normal; early estimates range from 5 to 12 tonnes/ac. Early greenfeed has been harvested; yields will be better than later seeded crops. Early reports of 1 to 3 wet tons of oat and barley silage.
Grasshoppers continue to 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 much higher in the drier areas of the north and southwest. Grasshoppers are moving from harvested crop to later maturing crops. Flea beetles are showing up, in high numbers in some areas. Some thistle caterpillar reported in soybeans. Predator insects are being reported in good numbers.
Haying continues where possible, but most is wrapped up. 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. Almost all pastures have been grazed down, and are rated in poor condition. Some feeding has begun in the northwest; many expect to be feeding as early as the end of August to early September. More indications of animals going to market due to lack of feed available. Topsoil moisture for hay and pasture is rated as 20 per cent short and 80 per cent very short.
Dugout levels are declining, some are dry. Water quality is a concern in low dugouts. Water supply is rated as 30 to 40 per cent adequate. Concern over adequate supply is increasing with continued dry conditions.