No Wet Weather Reprieve for Manitoba

Manitoba farmers managed to get more crop in the ground following the province’s June 20 seeding deadline, but wet conditions remain the main story for the province. 

The latest weekly crop report on Tuesday said an additional 150,000 acres were seeded in the province beyond the seeding deadline, bringing this year’s total unseeded area down to just under 700,000 acres. However, severe weather and heavy rains damaged crops in parts of the province the past week, notably in the Southwest and Northwest regions, where up to baseball-sized hail destroyed crops and damaged farm infrastructure near Binscarth and Russell. 

Meanwhile, repeated rains and warm soils have led to widespread nitrogen fertilizer losses, either via leaching or denitrification, the report said. In-crop nitrogen-deficiency symptoms are showing up as chlorotic (yellowed) leaf margins, in combination with other symptoms of crop stress due to saturated soils. The rush to seed crops wherever possible led to poorer seedbeds in some cases, which will impact in-season management and harvested yields, it added. 

Humid and warm conditions are ideal for fusarium and sclerotinia (white mould) disease development this year, and many farmers are preparing to spray fungicides on wheat, canola, and peas when conditions permit, and crop development advances. 

Spraying progress has rapidly advanced, despite challenging winds and very wet fields. Aerial application is widespread for insect control, while ground sprayers attempt to manage weeds. Rutted fields and stuck sprayers are common this year, and most spraying has had to be done in the evenings or early mornings when winds are calmer. Many canola fields have yet to be sprayed for the first time, and weed pressure is high, the report said. 

Spring wheat crops are tillering to beginning to see stem elongation (jointing). Later seeded cereals are at 2- to 4-leaf stage. Canola crops range from cotyledon to late rosette stage, with a few (relatively) early sown crops bolting and beginning to bloom. Most canola is between 4- to 6-leaf stage, where not excessively damaged by flea beetles. 


Warm temperatures and high humidity have favoured good growth conditions for crops. Strong winds following rain storms have made daytime herbicide application challenging, forcing many farmers to spray into the evening or early morning hours. A major storm system moved through Foxwarren/Binscarth and Rossburn/Oakburn areas last week, with meteorological stations reporting very high winds in excess of 100 km/hr, and farmers reporting up to baseball-sized hail near Russell, destroying some crops and farm infrastructure.  

Warm, calm, and dry weather is needed for crops to recover. Seeding progress advanced to 95% complete, leaving approximately 5 to 7% of all acres left unseeded. Some lowlying areas will be abandoned or have seed and fertilizer floated on.  


Unsettled weather arrived over the weekend after a few nice growing days, bringing as much as 100 mm rain in the McCreary area, lessening towards Laurier and Ste. Rose. Fields in that region are again underwater, after being some of the driest in the region in 2021. Unseeded acres are approximately 50-60% of total arable land in this district, while the region overall has 89% of crops planted. Unseeded acres also remain in the Grandview-Gilbert Plains-Dauphin districts (15 to 30%), and the Fork River area (30%).  

Overnight lows are still dipping below 10°C, crops require more heat to achieve rapid growth. A severe storm system moved through late last week, with baseball-sized hail destroying some crops in the Binscarth area, together with a tornado touchdown. Benito-area crops are being assessed for damage from the previous storm, with some crops recovering with further maturity delays expected. 


Herbicide spraying is nearly complete in cereal crops in the region, and most soybeans as well. First pass in flax, sunflowers, and corn is complete. Flea beetle issues persist on earlier-seeded canola crops that cannot seem to grow past the feeding damage, spraying is ongoing but starting to slow west of the escarpment and nearly done in the Red River Valley. Early spring wheat crops are reaching flag leaf, crops look in very good condition south of PTH 3, and less advanced further north, with a few more drowned out spots due to higher rainfall amounts. Some top-dressing of cereals is occurring.  


Rainfall accumulations last week across the region varied from 10 to over 75 mm, mostly falling on Friday, June 24. Standing water persists in some fields, but spraying and hay cutting activities have resumed. Temperatures across the region were erratic, above normal prior to the weekend, and cooling rapidly as storms systems moved through the area. The few remaining unseeded acres in the region will remain unseeded to an annual crop. The region sits at 97% complete. Pasture performance has improved, and dairy producers are generally nearing the end of first-cut, while most beef cattle producers have yet to start. 


Rains again last week have kept fields saturated, and excess moisture has caused crop loss in low spots and caused uneven emergence across fields. Overland flooding has led to large areas of rotted cereal and canola seed in the north Interlake, while some soybeans appear to be managing better. Huge uncertainty remains, especially in the north and central Interlake about the possibility of even planting greenfeed crops on unseeded acres before July 15.  

Silage corn growers and beef cattle producers have backed off the majority of their silage crop due to not meeting the crop insurance deadline of May 31st, and are very concerned about going another year without adequate feed production. Spraying for flea beetles continues across the region, with variable results.  

Saturated canola fields are suffering more from excess moisture than flea beetles, so sprays may be decided against in some cases. Approximately 50% of fields remain unseeded west of Arborg towards Fisher Branch and Lundar, and crops that are in the ground have suffered greatly from excess rains and lack of drainage. Southern Interlake conditions are better, where crop growth has been better and more uniform, but larger drowned out spots still visible. Spraying is underway, both by air and ground. Approximately 25% of fields remain unseeded in the Petersfield-Matlock-Winnipeg Beach area. Overall, regional seeding progress sits at 87%. 

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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