Manitoba Harvest Mostly Stalled



The Manitoba harvest was basically stalled this past week, as widespread rainfall kept farmers out of the fields.

The latest provincial crop report on Tuesday pegged the overall harvest in the province at 40% complete, up just 2 points from a week earlier and behind the three-year average of 56% done. With the wet conditions, wheat quality loss is being reported in those wheat fields in the Southwest and Northwest regions where crop is lying in the swath. The drying of tough and wet grain is also now becoming common throughout the province, the report added.

In addition to the rain, frost was reported in four of the province’s five agricultural regions over the weekend.

Southwest:

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% 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% complete. There have been some issues with sprouting and quality of grain left in swath and/or frequent rains and dews. Oats are 60% 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% 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.

Northwest:

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 degrees 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% of the crop is combined. Field pea harvest is virtually complete around Roblin however, 15% 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% of the red spring wheat is harvested, 5% of fields are swathed with 80% of fields just waiting on better weather to harvest. In the Swan River area, combining of spring cereals has begun with estimates of 20% of the oats and wheat harvested and 80% 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% combined. With the exception of Dauphin where operations are further ahead, 40 to 50% of canola in the region is in the swath. Better weather is needed to mature the soybean crop with 100% of fields still standing.

Central:

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% 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% 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% 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% 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.

Eastern:

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% surplus and 30% adequate. Soil moisture conditions in hay and pasture lands were rated as 30% adequate, 30% short and 40% 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% 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% to greater than 14.5%. Oats harvesting is approximately 95% complete with an average yield of over 100 bu/acre. Canola harvest continued last week, in southern and central areas approximately 60% of the crop is harvested while Northern areas report approximately 20-25% complete. Yield reports ranged from 40 to 50 bu/acre.

Overall harvest progress for the region is approximately 55% 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.

Interlake:

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% 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% 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% complete. Canola harvest progress ranges widely, from 20 to 70% 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.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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