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Harvest progress in Manitoba limited by widespread rainfall

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for September 10

Southwest Region

A few rainy days during the week and heavy rains yesterday have halted all harvest activities. In small pockets, there were a few days in which producers had made some harvest progress. Rain amounts are variable throughout the region. Hamiota, Forrest and Carberry area had the most at 40 to 45 mm. Russell, Oakburn, and Virden received 10mm or less. Rains are very helpful for recharging the soil moisture for next year’s crops, but are making harvest a serious challenge with frequent delays and tough to wet grain. Reports of a light frost in most of the region, but no crop damage reported at this time due to short duration and intensity of frost. Producers need dry and warm weather to resume harvest.

The spring wheat harvest in most of the region is 30 per cent complete. Grain moisture levels in wheat are higher than oats and barley making harvest operations more difficult. Quality is becoming a concern, with sprouting and mildew forming in swathed wheat. Yields are variable for different varieties and management practices. Most producers are reporting 65 to 70 bu/ac.

Barley is 80 per cent complete. There have been some issues with sprouting and quality of grain left in swath and/or frequent rains and dews. Oats are 60 per cent harvested. Reports of sprouting and mildew especially in swathed crop. Harvested oats and barley are mostly tough at harvest, and most crops still need supplemental heat to dry. Yields are average to above average in most cases.

Canola harvest is 8 per cent complete, with most acres concentrated in the southern part of the region. Canola harvest has not yet begun in northern parts of the region. Lots of swathing happening, even in pod-shatter tolerant varieties due to staginess and harvest timelines and the risk of frost.

Flax fields are maturing without any issues.

Soybean crop is mostly at R6.5 (seed fill) to R7 (Pod and leaf yellowing) stage and tuning quickly. Some varieties are already dropping leaves and most early varieties are beyond any frost- associated yield loss at this point.

Sunflowers are at R7 stage. Corn is at R4 to R5 stage.

Frequent rains in the are aiding dugout recharge; however, dugouts are still around 50 per cent of normal capacity. Pastures have perked up a bit, but the rains have come too late in the season to have a significant impact on forage regrowth. Most of the benefit will come from improving soil moisture for over-wintering and spring growth. Haying is complete with some green feed still to be done. Corn silaging has not yet started. Some cattle are being supplemented on pasture but in general, livestock are still on pastures.

Northwest Region

Light, scattered showers throughout the region were just enough to slow harvest operations. Heavier rainfall events occurred at The Pas with 13 mm received from almost daily showers. Other areas in the region received 5 to 8mm of rain through the week. The weekend brought highs of up to 25○ C however, there were also cool nighttime temperatures resulting in heavy morning dew further slowing harvest progress.

Unsettled cool, wet weather continued to challenge harvest progress; the best estimate is less than 30 per cent of the crop is combined. Field pea harvest is virtually complete around Roblin however, 15 per cent of field peas remain standing in the Swan River area with reported yields of 40 to 80 bu/ac. Around Roblin, the winter wheat harvest is complete. The spring wheat crop is generally ripe in the region however, the recent wet weather has caused some sprouting and dry weather is needed for the grain to dry down and harvest to resume. Around Roblin, 15 per cent of the red spring wheat is harvested, 5 per cent of fields are swathed with 80 per cent of fields just waiting on better weather to harvest. In the Swan River area, combining of spring cereals has begun with estimates of 20 per cent of the oats and wheat harvested and 80 per cent standing. Spring wheat yields have been reported in the range of 50 to 70 bu/ac. The canola crop continues to mature throughout the region. There has been a start to the harvest of canola around Swan River with 5 per cent combined. With the exception of Dauphin where operations are further ahead, 40 to 50 per cent of canola in the region is in the swath. Better weather is needed to mature the soybean crop with 100 per cent of fields still standing.

Many producers are thinking of culling cows and reducing herd sizes due to the extreme shortage in winter feed supplies in the areas north of Dauphin, and near Ste. Rose and Alonsa areas. Second cut was disappointing in anticipated yields so shortfall is larger than expected. Although recent precipitation was received in much of the area, this was not timely and little to no re-growth has occurred on hay fields and pastures. Many producers have been supplementing on pastures. Grasshoppers continue to be a problem, although recent rains seem to have been slowing them down. Corn silage yields are yet to be determined however, the recent rains will assist in cob fill. Nitrates are of concern due to the hot dry conditions over the summer growing period, and now the threat and scattered reports of frost in the Rorketon area. Pasture water sources have not improved significantly from the rain because the moisture infiltrated the soil quickly and resulted in no runoff. The Rural Municipality of Mossey River has been added to the municipalities declaring a local state of emergency.

In the Roblin and Swan River areas with frequent showers this past week, annual crop harvest was halted as well as the baling of straw, and greenfeed. However, producers were able harvest annual crops as chopped or round bale silage. The recent moisture has greened up pastures and has prevented further drops in dugout levels. Second-cut alfalfa re- growth on fields first cut in late July remains slow. Corn silage harvest remains several weeks away.

Central Region

Harvest days were limited to the latter part of the week and weekend due to intermittent rain events and cool temperatures. Delayed harvest operations resulted and may not resume until next week. Soil moisture levels are now rated as fair to good.

Highest rainfall received was in areas along the international border, but the whole region received around 15 to 20 mm. The Manitou-Darlingford-Snowflake area was hit with hail mid-week causing light to moderate damage. Damage assessment is underway.

Ripe crops are not benefitting from this late season moisture but soybeans and corn may. Frost was recorded Sunday morning in the Baldur to Glenboro areas down to -1°C for a few hours.

Harvest of wheat, oats and barley continues, being mostly wrapped up in the Red River Valley, but approximately 20 per cent of those crops remain to be harvested west of the escarpment. Late season crops like corn and soybeans are into the grain fill stage and benefitted from the recent rains but cooler temperatures are delaying maturation. Most recently, harvested wheat has tough and is going in aeration or dried.

As with cereal crops, straw from some canola and pea fields has been baled to increase overwinter feed supplies. Harrowing of cereal fields follows quickly after harvest to break down and help distribute surface crop residue, and some tillage has begun to incorporate residue and kill off volunteer grain regrowth. Winter cereal seeding is being delayed due to the delayed harvest of canola.

Corn is in the seed filling stage. In some areas, cob development was being limited for lack of moisture but recent rainfall will help seed filling. More advanced and well developed corn crops are into the dough stage and denting. Silage corn harvest has started and some poorer fields destined for grain are being harvested as silage in some areas.

Soybeans mostly into the R7 stage with more mature fields in the Red River Valley compared to above the escarpment. Leaves are starting to drop and plants turning brown. Soybeans have benefitted from the recent rains with seed fill and prevention of green seed at harvest. Field pea harvest is considered done. Reported yields are in the 40 to 65 bu/ac and good quality grain. Field beans are podded and turning. About 30 per cent of field beans have been harvested to date.

Canola fields intended to be swathed are mostly done. Harvest is most advanced in the Red River Valley at around 70 per cent combined and yields widely ranging in the 25 to 55 bu/ac range due to seasonal moisture variations. Above the escarpment, canola harvest is 10 to 30 per cent complete with early yields reported between 40 to 50 bu/acre. Flax is in the boll stage, brown and soon ready to start harvesting. Sunflowers are in the R8 stage and seed filling. Grasshoppers feeding damage has slowed with the cooler and wetter conditions this week.

Potato seed crops being top killed and commercial potato harvest is underway. Risk for late blight rated low to medium and spraying fungicides recommended as preventative measure. No reports of late blight to date.

Adequate rainfall in the last two weeks has helped improve soil moisture conditions for crop, hay and pasture land. Second cut hay fields and pastures that were browned off are now greening up and will provide fall grazing. Hauling hay and straw into feed yards continues.

Cattle supplementation on pasture has been delayed with the rains and improvement to the forage growth.

Straw, greenfeed, silage and other forages are being baled as a source of feed. Crops intended for grain are being converted and harvested as silage or baled. Livestock water supplies have improved with the recent rains but are still low and dugouts will need runoff in the spring to fill.

Eastern Region

Rainfall accumulations for the week across the Eastern region ranged from 11 to 25 mm with the average around 20 mm in most districts. Some harvesting of spring cereals and canola resumed towards the end of last week and into the weekend before stopping again due to more recent rainfall. Soil moisture conditions on cropland across the region were rated as 70 per cent surplus and 30 per cent adequate. Soil moisture conditions in hay and pasture lands were rated as 30 per cent adequate, 30 per cent short and 40 per cent very short.

Apart from ongoing periods of rain, frost occurred this past weekend. Weather stations at Dominion City, Marchand and Prawda reported light frosts of -0.3 to -0.8°C for 2 to 3 hours. The coldest weather station was at Sprague Lake reporting -2°C for a total of 6 hours.

Across the region, about 90 per cent of spring wheat was harvested with an average yield of around 60 bu/acre. Quality continued to be good, but protein levels were mixed with reports ranging from 11 per cent to greater than 14.5 per cent. Oats harvesting is approximately 95 per cent complete with an average yield of over 100 bu/acre. Canola harvest continued last week, in southern and central areas approximately 60 per cent of the crop is harvested while Northern areas report approximately 20-25 per cent complete. Yield reports ranged from 40 to 50 bu/acre.

Overall harvest progress for the region is approximately 55 per cent complete. While the recent rainfall will contribute seed filling in soybeans and corn, the dry conditions persisted long enough that soybeans began ripening prematurely as leaf yellowing and leaf drop accelerated.

Corn is in the dough (R5) to dent (R6) stages depending on the hybrid. Soybean crops are in R6 with some early maturing varieties in R7. Sunflowers were in R7 to R8 growth stages.

Some hay producers will try to take one last cut after alfalfa critical period is over. Supplement feeding is happening on pastures. Pasture conditions were rated as 30 per cent fair, 40 per cent poor and 30 per cent very poor. Availability of livestock water was rated as 80 per cent adequate. Dugouts are low and drying up completely in some areas.

Interlake Region

Unsettled weather continued to slow harvest; producers picked up crop whenever the weather allowed. Rainfall amounts were variable; the north saw less than 10 mm, while southern areas received up to 25 mm. Precipitation is welcome for pasture and hay regrowth, and possibly some later maturing corn, soybeans and corn silage, but too late for annual crop, greenfeed and this year’s hay crops. Rains have been welcome for seeding of winter wheat and hybrid fall rye, as well as for tillage operations.

Premature ripening due to dry conditions is evident in soybeans and corn. Rainfall accumulations to date for most of the region are 50 to 75 per cent of normal. Pockets of frost were reported on the weekend, with varying degrees of injury. Elevated nitrate levels are a risk in forage crops. Soil moisture levels remain low, even in areas receiving rains.

Harvest is estimated at as much as 55 to 60 per cent complete. Yields are highly variable, but much is coming in at average to slightly below average. Many report better than expected yields, considering the year. All crops have been stagey; some fields have been left standing for longer periods to allow green areas to mature, even following desiccation and pre- harvest treatments.

Cereal harvest has progressed well to 80 to 100 per cent complete. Canola harvest progress ranges widely, from 20 to 70 per cent complete; a number of producers have finished up and are waiting on soybeans. Strong winds have blown canola swaths around, making combining a challenge. Early canola yields reported in the 30 to 50 bu/ac range, with averages expected in the 35 to low 40 bu/ac range. Swathing in later seeded and re-seeded canola should start in the next week or two.

Flax harvest has begun, with early reports of 20 to 30 bu/ac.

Rapid colour change and leaf drop is seen in soybeans, in many cases due to dry conditions. Growth stage is mostly R7 with some moving into R8. Yield estimates range from 20 to 35 bu/ac; harvest may start next week. Sunflowers continue to mature; backs of heads are yellow. Stands are short. Some corn is starting to shut down; dry conditions are a significant concern for final yield. Cobs formed have fewer rows than average, and in some cases, cobs are extremely small.

Silage corn harvest continues, and yields will be lower than normal.

Quality will be a concern, with lower energy levels where cob formation is minimal. Early greenfeed has been harvested. Although yields are less than average, they will be better than later seeded crops. Some crops intended for grain production have gone for forage.

Cooler, wetter weather has slowed grasshopper and flea beetle activity.

Extremely dry soils have limited both recovery and growth of hay and pasture, even in areas of recent rain. Rains are beneficial for improving conditions for overwintering of these perennial crops. Producers are undertaking pasture and hay renewal measures for next year.

Haying has 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. Some producers are fertilizing forage stands for next year. Rains may add a few days to pasture grazing, although this may risk pasture survival and availability for next year. Supplemental feeding will start earlier than normal. Indications of more animals going to market due to lack of feed available. Topsoil moisture for hay and pasture is rated as 30 per cent short and 70 per cent very short.

Dugout levels have declined, and some are dry. Water supply is rated as 40 per cent adequate. Both supply and quality remain a concern.

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