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Manitoba Crop Report: 2018 season summary

Manitoba Crop Report and Crop Weather report for October 29

Southwest Region

Weather conditions were dry and seedbed was very dry especially in southern parts of the region. Dry conditions in most of the region during July and August. Rainfall and below than normal temperatures in September and early October cause the significant delay in harvest and no major benefit to crops as most of the crops were already close to harvest at that point. This late moisture put the overall percentage close to normal in the region which will help to recharge the subsoil moisture and helpful for next year crops.

Most of the moisture came in thunderstorms, which brought hail as well. Critical July and August rains did not occur. Cereals and canola yields were good, but the big yield hit with moisture shortage was with soybean and grain corn.
TO date, 95 per cent harvest is complete.

Winter wheat had winterkill issues and some fields written off by MASC. Crop remaining was average, with yields in the 70 bu/ac with good quality and average protein. 2018 fall planted acres are down from previous years because of lower yields and late harvest. Fall rye survived winter and yields reported to be average at 60 bu/ac, with good quality.

Hard red spring wheat yields were average to a little higher at around the 60 bu/ac with good quality and protein. There was very low fusarium levels in 2018 crop due to dry weather conditions. Crop that remained out during the late rains and snow has reduced quality and yield.

Oats had an average yield, reported at 90 bu/ac, with good quality. Some oats remain to be harvested with lower quality and yield. Barley quality was also good, as well as test weight. Reported yields at 80 bu/ac.

The flax crop in the region was out for most of the rain and snow, affecting yields and quality. Yields reported as 25 bu/ac.

Canola yields were variable. Most canola harvested before rain and snow was 45 to 50 bu/ac; crop harvested was 40 bu/ac. Overall average 45 bu/ac.

Field Peas had a good year and yields averaged 45 bu/ac.

Soybean crop looked good throughout the growing season, but needed a rain in August to help yields. Yield average in 30 to 35 bu/ac range.

Corn harvest has begun in most areas and yields look to be average to below average because of the dry condition in July and August at 90 to 100 bu/ac.

Sunflower harvest in progress, with yields looking to be average at 1800 to 2000 lb/ac. Dry conditions affected head development and fill.

The dry conditions in the region started in the fall of 2017, which was dry, followed by below average snowfall. The spring of 2018 did not improve, as it started out cold and dry and turned hot and dry for the rest of the summer. Hay yields were mostly below average but generally of good quality. On lighter soils, both pasture and hay land growth was dormant by mid-July. The heavier soils kept forages growing for longer but the excessive heat, wind and lack of precipitation stopped growth and put many livestock producers in a tight feed situation. Late fall precipitation has put the forage resources into a better position for overwintering but was too late to help pasture or hay growth in a significant way. Some pastures have been overgrazed and will put producers in a tough position in the spring. Dugouts and other natural water sources are still low and will require normal snowfall and runoff to replenish the resource. Even within the region the severity of the dry conditions varies considerably.

Northwest Region

Good fall weather continued which allowed producers to progress with harvest this past week throughout the region. The 2018 harvest is basically complete with the exception of some later seeded or reseeded canola fields. The good weather has allowed for headway on the soybean harvest and it is also virtually complete. Much of the fall field work was completed this past week in preparation for spring. Some anhydrous ammonia has been applied as harvest and field conditions allow. Weeds and volunteers are slow growing and minimal fall weed control has taken place at this point.

The red spring wheat harvest is generally complete in the region at 98 per cent with the remainder being those later seeded fields. The average yield for hard red spring wheat is 65 to 85 bu/ac with 80 per cent of the crop grading #1, and the remainder grading #2 or lower.

The canola harvest is nearly complete with approximately 98 per cent of the acres combined. Those acres remaining are on fields that were seeded later in the spring or fields that had been reseeded. Canola yields averaged 50 to 60 bu/ac. The quality of canola harvested is standard for the region with 95 per cent of the crop grading #1 and the balance #2. A lot of the canola harvested was high moisture and required extra aeration and drying. Quality of some of the later seeded canola is lower due to green seed issues.

Field pea harvest operations are complete with yields averaging 50 to 70 bu/ac and grading #2 in the Swan River and Roblin areas. Soybeans are 99 per cent complete with yields averaging 30 to 50 bu/ac; 95 per cent of the crop is grading #2. Some flax remains to be harvested.

The 2018 growing season was variable in the Northwest Region with regards to precipitation. Spring soil moisture conditions were dry for Roblin, Swan River and around Dauphin with crops stressed from lack of moisture. At The Pas, excess moisture was a challenge. Part way through the season, periodic heavy downpours through the north and western parts of the region replenished or increased water levels. Areas in the eastern part of the region remained dry until September. There were two hail storms through the region in August with damage ranging from minimal to 100 per cent. As the season progressed, crops in the region recovered to some extent, but by September conditions were cooling with the first frost on Sept 5th. Cool weather continued with early snow causing challenges and extending harvest operations well into late October. Currently soil moisture conditions rated as average.

Hot, dry conditions caused some pod abortion during flowering on canola, however yields and quality did not seem to be affected a significant amount. The dry weather conditions helped to reduce disease pressure although Fusarium head blight showed up in some wheat fields. Levels of sclerotinia and alternaria in canola were low. There were some issues in soybeans with root rot and sclerotinia. Producers were able to limit the impact of disease and insect pressure due to timely and appropriate application of fungicides and insecticides to susceptible crops at the most beneficial stage.

The variable growing conditions affected forage production as well. Excess moisture conditions in The Pas, affected both yield and quality, while drier conditions experienced around Ste. Rose and Rorketon resulted in forage yields 1/2 to 1/3 of normal and low dugout water levels. Producers with reduced winter feed supplies have been sourcing alternative feeds. Cool, wet conditions in the fall throughout the region, made it challenging to put up dry feed including greenfeed, second cut hay and straw. Better weather at end of October gave producers a narrow window to continue harvesting feed although some, was put up at higher than ideal moisture.

Pasture growth stopped earlier this year, due to cold temperatures in September, coupled with low moisture conditions in some parts of the region. As a result, producers were supplementing on pasture or moving cattle to extended grazing fields.

Central Region

Early in the past week, conditions were dry enough to make good progress on the harvest until precipitation late in the week, halted harvest again. Killing frosts have now occurred across the region, with minimal if any impact on quality, as crops have matured. Some grain corn left to be harvested, but harvest of all other crops is essentially complete. Field work and fertilizer applications continue as soil conditions are favourable with adequate topsoil moisture.

Last fall, much of the region reported moist topsoil conditions resulting from moderate rainfall following a drier than normal summer. Spring melt was delayed after a cold and dry winter. The lack of snow provided very little spring runoff that normally helps to recharge surface water sources and some topsoil moisture.

Spring seeding was delayed well into April due to the cold conditions but picked up rapidly and progressed well having dry field conditions to support field equipment. Overnight temperatures continued to dip into the frost range; soils were cold. Some fields were seeded borderline dry as the spring progressed without meaningful rains. In some cases poor emergence resulted; precipitation necessary for germination was delayed, but tended to even out over time.

Minimal pre-seed burnoff or tillage occurred, as farmers focused on seeding while trying to preserve topsoil moisture. Pastures and hay fields were slow to recover due to cool temperatures, dry conditions and winter damage from the cold and lack of insulating snow cover.

Much of the winter cereals suffered winter damage in eastern parts of the region, but fared better in western areas.

Dry conditions prevailed until later May, resulting in some producers seeding deeper than optimal, chasing moisture. Uneven/delayed germination due to lack of precipitation was common, resulting in challenges for staging herbicides, and later, fungicides. Temperatures were well above normal for the early part of the season providing rapid early growing conditions once crops were established.

Hail events occurred, resulting in crop damage and impacting yields.

The most significant hail storm to hit the region was on June 14 affecting an area meandering from Minto to Morden with more or less severe damage along the way. Many fields were written off and reseeded due to the severity of the damage. Other hail storm events hit different areas at different times with lesser overall impact.

Herbicide applications were challenging this year. Dry conditions initially limited weed growth; and in many cases significant weed growth didn’t occur until after the optimal timing for herbicide application. Variable wind conditions further complicated and delayed timely applications.

Precipitation continued to be below normal across the region with pockets of dryness more evident in the Holland-Treherne, Gladstone to Plumas and Morris to Altona areas.

Minimal late season precipitation, from mid July to mid-September, limited grain fill in soybeans and corn in particular. It also resulted in an early harvest season that presented far fewer rain delays. Most of the region has seen lower than normal rainfall over the growing season, with some areas reporting as low as 55 per cent of normal. Subsoil moisture along with moderate rainfall events at appropriate crop stages carried the annual crops relatively well. Perennial forage stands including hay and pastures suffered most from the lack of subsoil moisture, winter damage and the below normal seasonal precipitation.

Harvest of winter cereals and spring wheat started in August. Winter cereal acres that survived the winter did well, with winter wheat ranging from 40 to 90 bu/ac, averaging 65 to 75 bu/ac, and fall/hybrid rye ranging from 75 to 95 bu/ac, averaging 85 bu/ac. Test weight was good, as were falling numbers for rye. Quality was good, with low FDK injury/vomitoxin levels. Minimal ergot reported.

Spring wheat yields ranged from 40 to 90 bu/ac, with 65 to 75 bu/ac average. As high as 95 per cent of CWRS graded #1, with protein at 13 to 15  per cent; Eastern areas averaged 40 to 60 bu/ac. CNHR grades were more variable, with most stations reporting the majority grading #1. Protein reported as 12 to 14 per cent. Eastern areas reported 65 to 70 bu/ac average yield. CPS wheats were also very good quality, with proteins somewhat higher than CNHRs, and yields somewhat lower. Fusarium was minimal in all cases, with FDK/vomitoxin < 0.5 ppm. Barley yields ranged from 60 to 100 bu/ac, averaging 80 to 85 bu/ac. Quality is very good. Malt barley averaged in the 75 bu range, with excellent quality.

Oats ranged from 80 to 150 bu/ac, averaging 105 to 130 bu/ac. Quality was excellent, and some very good bushel weight reports. Most graded at the highest designation.

Canola yields were good, a pleasant surprise considering the various season struggles. Some fields were reseeded due to the heavy flea beetle pressure, dry soil conditions/poor seedbed/uneven germination having an impact but the below normal precipitation had the biggest yield impact. Blackleg was noted in many fields, but not considered a major yield limitation this year. Sclerotinia was present in some fields but at low levels given the predominantly dry conditions. Yields varied widely depending on moisture ranging from 25 to 60 bu/ac, averaging 35 to 45 bu/ac. Quality is excellent with the crop grading 1CAN.

Flax quality is very good; yields are average to excellent, with some 40 bu/ac+ yields reported.

Pea acres were down from last year, due to lower price offering. Peas yielded very well in the 30 to 60 bu/ac+ range with some fields exceeding 70 and 80 bu/ac. Harvested quality is very good.

Soybean harvest is close to complete. Dry conditions led to overall lower yields for the second year in a row. Higher yields in areas receiving timely August rains. Smaller seed size as reported due to the dry conditions. Yields range from 20 to 55 bu/ac, averaging 30 to 35 bu/ac. Quality is fair to good and some fields had high green seed count due to very dry conditions, with as much as 40 per cent green seed in the sample. Soybean aphids not a factor this year. Minimal white mold reported. Phytophthera root rot and other root rots were evident in some fields; lack of moisture impacted yield more than disease.

Iron chlorosis was not prevalent, but was still evident in some fields, that recovered fairly well.

Edible bean harvest done. Yields average to above average in the 1400 to 2000 lb/ac. Quality is very good. Seed size is good, with the odd exception. Cracked seed coats were generally low, considering the low moisture of early harvested beans. White mould was reported, but no significant yield loss. There were no significant disease issues with seed quality.

Sunflower harvest continues. Early yield reports to date range from 1800 to 3600 lb/ac on confection types and oils. Quality is very good. Areas that received more rain have larger seed size. Desiccation prior to harvest continues to increase, improving quality and yield with earlier harvest.

Grain corn harvest continues; with the region 80 to 85 per cent complete. Early yields range from 60 to 150 bu/ac, average yield at 110 to 125 bu/ac. Moisture ranges from 20 to low 30 per cent, but declining. Corn silage harvest is done. Yield reports are below average due to the dry conditions. Some corn planted for grain was ultimately harvested for silage due to poor yield expectations and a local market local need for cattle feed.

Potato harvest is 95 per cent complete with good yield reports of 300 to 400 cwt/ac. Some quality concerns with frosted potatoes has occurred, with tubers remaining in fields during severe frost events in October.

Impact of disease in most crops is low due to the drier than normal conditions. Sclerotinia and blackleg were evident in susceptible crops but at generally at low levels. Aster yellows were minimal in canola. Leaf spotting diseases including brown spot and bacterial blight were evident in soybeans, and bacterial blight in edible beans. Fusarium head blight was minimal in cereal crops.

Insect concerns were lower than normal. Flea beetles caused some issues in establishing canola. Some insecticide applications made to headlands for grasshoppers mostly in the Red River Valley. European corn borer were not reported as an issue. Minimal diamondback moth larval feeding. Lygus bug numbers were low and not an reported as an issue.

Soil testing continues; results are variable, but there are many reports of low soil test Nitrogen after a reasonable crop harvested overall. Phosphorus is also low due to tighter rotations of big Phosphorus using crops; changes in seeding implements that limit the amount of safely applied with seed; changes to crops (i.e. soybeans) that are very sensitive to seed-placed Phosphorus, but are big users. Producers are encouraged to work at building up soil Phosphorus.

Post-harvest weed control limited due to dry growing conditions. Good germination for volunteer grain growth has occurred following rains. Fall cultivation continues, after a slow start due to the dry conditions. Good progress has been made in much of the region, following rains.

Fall fertilizing is well underway. There continues to be an increase in fall phosphate fertilizer applications, due to low soil test levels, as well as equipment limitations for spring seed-placed or side-banded applications at ‘seed- safe’ levels. Farmers are recognizing the impact high yielding crops have on soil test Phosphorus.

Herbicides are being applied and incorporated.

Manure application is on-going and progressing well.

Crop residue burning has declined this year due to strong demand for straw, with much of it being baled. Excellent straw choppers have improved the ease of returning straw to the soil.

Seeded winter wheat seeded acres are down overall while fall rye acres are up. Decline in winter wheat related to a narrowing of the yield gap between the spring and winter wheat as well as over wintering issues over the last couple of years. Fall rye higher pricing would account for the increase in fall rye acres as well as the higher yield potential of hybrid varieties. Moisture conditions were favorable for the establishment of winter cereals in early September, but later September to mid-October conditions were cold and cloudy preventing much change in the development of those establishing winter cereals. Germination and stand establishment is fair to good this year. The crop ranges from one leaf to the four leaf stage.

Hay fields are in poor to fair condition. There is a poor supply of hay for most of the region; many producers will be short. Quality of feed is very good, due to drier conditions at harvest.

Livestock feeding is less than normal for this time of year due to the feed shortage. Pastures that were overstocked or on lighter soils stopped growing in mid summer providing very little regrowth for grazing. Cattle are being removed from perennial pasture and being supplemented, or moved to extended grazing such as 2nd cut hay fields or harvested grain corn.

Subsoil moisture is low and will need to be recharged. Livestock water supply is also low – groundwater has declined, dugouts are lower than normal and many sloughs are drying up.

Eastern Region

Rainfall accumulations this week varied from 1.3 mm to 7.3 mm across the region. Soil moisture conditions on crop land were rated as about 20 per cent surplus, 80 per cent adequate in northern districts. Central districts are rated at 100 per cent adequate. In southern districts, soil moisture conditions on crop land were rated as 10 per cent adequate, 60 per cent short and 30 per cent very short. It has been a frustrating harvest. Overall yields and quality were good with yields better than most expected given the dry weather patterns in summer. While a delayed harvest has been frustrating, the replenishment of moisture in the soil is seen as a benefit for next year. The slowest progress in harvesting has been in corn and sunflower, due mostly to the high  per cent seed moisture. Limits to what can be harvested in a day, given the short days and/or the capacity of a producers dryer systems. Clients without grain dryers who are growing these crops are struggling given that they have to wait until neighbours are done with their dryers before they can get in line for custom drying.

Harvest progress in the Eastern region estimated at 95 per cent complete. Cereal harvest is done. Yields and quality were both very good this year. Spring wheat yields range from 50 to 80 bu/ac. Reports indicated good quality (50 per cent 1 CW & 50 per cent 2CW) and protein levels ranging from 13 per cent to 16 per cent. Oat yields ranged 80 to 130 bu/ac. Canola harvest is complete with yields from 35 to 60 bu/ac with good quality (100 per cent 1 CW). Soybean harvest estimated at 99 per cent complete for the region. Yield reports are 30 to 50 bu/ac with good quality (100 per cent 2CW). Sunflowers harvest 90 per cent complete. Both Oils and Confection sunflower yields have been excellent at 2500 to 3000 lbs with good quality (100 per cent 2CW) reported. Corn harvest estimated at 90 per cent complete, but variable, depending on the district. Yield reports in the 100 to 150 bu/ac and good quality (100 per cent 2CW).

Winter wheat fields are in the 3 to 4 leaf, 2 tiller stage and look to be in good condition for winter.

The effect of disease on crop quality was minimal this year. Given the dry growing season, crop quality was very good across the board. Low humidity and little rainfall during much of the growing season kept disease pressures low.

The effect of weather on crop quality was also minimal. Occasional and isolated late season hailstorms caused some soybean pod shatter but overall a very small effect. Weather conditions overall had little affect on crop quality up in the northern districts. Concerns expressed by some soybean buyers in regards to protein level but in the end it doesn’t seem to be translating into actually quality downgrades or lowered prices so far.

Fall work is behind, but producers are taking every opportunity to get more done. This last week allowed more progress to be made as producers wrapped up harvesting and then put all their efforts into field work. Biggest problem are fields may have been dry enough to get the combine across, but still not dry enough to properly work or incorporate fertilizer. Producers spent time trying various fields to see where they could get work done but they would rather have tillage work correctly than make ruts and balls of mud. Biggest challenge on field work has been the weather conditions. Weather over the last week held very few sustained sunny and warm breaks. Temperatures in the region rose quickly to above 10C highs during Wednesday, giving producers hope but then backed off to below 5C for the weekend. Most days last week were cloudy with intermittent light drizzle, most areas received some rain on Friday. Two weeks of improved weather (absence of any precipitation) would see rapid completion of field work given that harvesting is pretty wrapping up.

Hay and pasture land moisture conditions were rated as 10 per cent adequate, 50 per cent short and 40 per cent very short. Pasture land conditions were rated as 30 per cent fair, 40 per cent poor and 30 per cent very poor. Second cut grass hay is being cut and put up as silage. Producers are weaning calves and feeding livestock on pasture as well as putting cows on hay fields that had manure applied in August. Dugouts have about 20 per cent of the water capacity with some dugouts dry. Winter feed supplies of hay are rated at 50 per cent adequate and 50 per cent inadequate, straw is rated at 40 per cent adequate and 60 per cent inadequate. Greenfeed is rated as 100 per cent adequate with the feed grain supply rate at 80 per cent adequate and 20 per cent inadequate. The availability of livestock water is rated at 80 per cent adequate and 20 per cent inadequate.

Interlake Region

A welcome break in the weather has allowed for harvest progress in the Interlake region, with harvest more than 99 per cent complete. Constraints are due to poor drying conditions, shorter days and drying capacity. A few fields of canola, soybeans and seed alfalfa remain to be harvested, along with corn. Fieldwork is well underway, with both tillage and drainage operations on-going. Fertilizer is being applied to fields in preparation for next year’s crop.

The crop year in the region, was off to a quick start, similar to much of the province. Dry conditions carried over from last fall to spring, with dust behind the seeders were a common sight. Some of the northern areas of the Interlake were wetter, delaying seeding. Cool conditions prevailed through the spring. Overnight temperatures continued to dip into the frost range, and soils were cold. Annual crops had stagey emergence, due to dry seedbeds and limited precipitation following, to aid germination. Some crop was seeded deep to moisture, delaying emergence. Late seeded crops sat in dry soil for extended periods. Perennial crops, hay and pasture were slow to break dormancy and green up.

Supplemental feeding of cattle was required until pasture growth was adequate. Warmer temperatures in June allowed for rapid crop and forage growth.

Minimal pre-seed burnoff occurred; weed growth at the appropriate staging was limited, and conditions were poor due to dust. Blowing soils caused some crop injury, and erosion was evident. Strong winds continued through the spring and hampered timely in-crop herbicide application operations.

Iron deficiency chlorosis was present in soybean fields, but at much lower levels than last year.

Dry hot conditions rapidly advanced the crop and harvest began early. Some concerns resulted, with very low seed moisture. Moisture stress was common throughout the region. Rainfall was inadequate for the most part, particularly in areas with lighter textured soils, and premature ripening of crops was common. Most crops were shorter and thinner than normal. Severe thunderstorms and hail resulted in crop losses in some areas. A few areas in the south part of the region received more consistent rainfall – in some cases, excess amounts. The northwest corner of the region received the lowest amounts of precipitation.

As expected, crop yields were lower on average due to lack of precipitation, but were extremely variable. The best yields were entirely due to timely rains. Many producers were pleasantly surprised with average to good yields, despite poor looking stands. Harvest progressed rapidly until mid September, when cool temperatures, showers and snowfalls ground harvest to a halt. Lodged crop presented harvest challenges. Soil moisture conditions resulted in combining being delayed; a few reports of combines stuck. Grain harvested after mid-September required aeration and/or drying. Harvest has dragged on, with producers taking advantage of small windows of favourable weather.

The majority of winter wheat fields were terminated in spring, due to winterkill. Surviving crop had average yields and graded #1. Hybrid fall rye had good yields and quality, 70 to 90 bu/ac; lower yields in non-hybrid varieties. Higher than normal amounts of ergot reported in fall rye.

Field peas ranged from 25 to 60+ bu/ac, with excellent quality. Average yield will be lower than last year. Fababean yields were disappointing due to dry conditions.

Forage grass seed yields are reported as average to below average. The poorest stands were cut for hay.

On average, 90 per cent of spring cereals graded #1 with remaining 10 per cent grading #2. Quality was excellent, with virtually no vomitoxin reported. Proteins were generally good to excellent. Spring wheat ranged from 30 to 90 bu/ac, averaging 45 to 65 bu/ac, with CHNR and CPS varieties 10 bu/ac higher. Barley ranged from 35 to 100 bu/ac, averaging 75 to 80 bu/ac. Oats ranged from 40 to 140+ bu/ac, averaged 90 to 100 bu/ac. Early harvested fields had some issues with thin kernels.

Canola yields ranged from 20 to 50+ bu/ac, averaging 35 to 40 bu/ac with essentially all graded #1. The move to straight cut harvest and pod shatter resistant varieties allowed stagey crops to stand and ripen, for fewer harvest losses.

Flax yields reported as disappointing, ranging from 15 bu/ac to high 30s. Some downgrading due to weathering.

Grain fill in soybeans was noticeably affected by lack of rain in August. Seed size is small. Some green seed issues seen with the earliest harvested fields, but the extended delay in harvest allowed all green to clear in the remaining fields. Harvest is nearing completion with only a few fields left. Yields range from 15 to 50 bu/ac, averaging 32 to 35 bu/ac. Almost all will grade #2, with a few downgrades to 3s and 4s due to greens.

Much of the alfalfa seed crop has been harvested, with yields ranging from 100 to over 1000 lbs/ac, prior to cleaning – extreme differences due to variable rainfall and insect pressure. Average yields are typically 150 to 350 lbs/ac, but areas that received more rain will be higher.

Sunflowers harvest is complete. No reported yields to date, but many will be lower than average. Grain corn harvest continues, ranging from 45 to 65 per cent complete. Yields reported to date range from 100 to 150 bu/ac in southwest areas and 150 to 200 bu/ac in southeast edge. Average yield for the region forecasted to be 100 to 120 bu/ac. Harvest progress has been limited due to high grain moisture levels and dryers at full capacity.

Impact of disease on crops was lower than normal, a consequence of drier conditions. Impact of insect injury on crops was also lower than normal. Insect issues included alfalfa weevil at high levels, requiring treatment. Some alfalfa suffered injury from alfalfa weevil, lygus and plant bugs. Scattered cutworm infestations reported. Cold dry soils delayed canola emergence and slowed growth, making the crop susceptible to flea beetle injury. Control measures were required. Some canola was reseeded due to multiple stresses of cold soils/poor emergence, flea beetles and cutworms. Grasshoppers were more numerous; in most cases only headlands required treatment.

Significant numbers of beneficial predator insects were evident in fields.

Seeded winter wheat acres have decreased with more producers growing soybeans and higher yielding spring wheat varieties, as well as due to winterkill losses. Seeded hybrid fall rye acres have increased in some areas, remaining similar to last year in other parts of the region.

Fall fieldwork continues, where conditions allow. Soil testing is on- going; Phosphorus and Potassium levels are reported as low for the most part. Nitrogen levels are extremely variable, with higher than normal residual reported in some fields.

Phosphorus and Potassium fertilization of forages continues, as well as on fields intended for next year’s soybeans and canola. Fall Nitrogen fertilizer continues, good progress has been made. Most producers are caught up with field work and intended fertilizer applications.

Haying is complete, and was put up with good quality – essentially no rain fell as it was cut, cured and baled. Average hay yields: alfalfa 1.2 tons 1st cut, 0.5 tons 2nd cut; brome/alfalfa and tame hay 0.8 tons; wild hay 0.7 tons; greenfeed 4 tons. First cut hay was late, a result of poor growth due to cool dry conditions. Yields were higher in the southeast part of the region receiving more rainfall.

Warm season annual forages such as millet and corn faired reasonably well during the hot, dry growing season. Some poorer stands of oats were taken for greenfeed. Corn silage yields varied from 8 to 18 wet tons/ac.

Considerable acres of native hay were cut and baled due to tame hay shortages, including grasses, rushes, sedges, woody species, and old bottom (areas that were not hayed in recent years). The energy and protein content of this native hay is less than the nutritional requirements of cattle during the coldest months. There will be more feeding of alternative feeds this winter than in recent years, due to feed shortage. Forage samples are being tested for nitrates. Many more are being submitted for analysis of nutrient content for ration balancing. More cereal straw was dropped and baled than in recent years, due to feed shortages.

Some cattle producers will downsize their herds due to feed shortage.

Livestock water 35 per cent adequate, 65 per cent inadequate. Dugout levels are very low due to low subsoil moisture levels. Water quality varies from poor to good. Some dugouts were deepened, and new ones dug due to low water supply. Producers are looking to secure

Topsoil moisture conditions for hay and pasture are rated at 5 per cent adequate, 50 per cent short, 45 per cent very short.

Subsoil moisture needs to be replenished, especially in the northwest corner.

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