Crop Report: Issue 2, May 13, 2013


Weekly Provincial Summary

  • Seeding of spring wheat, barley, oats, canola, potatoes, and grain corn has occurred in various areas across Manitoba. There has been limited seeding completed to date, but activity is expected to increase with favourable weather conditions.
  • Winter wheat and fall rye crops are being assessed for winter survival and establishment; winterkill and injury is being reported in some fields.  In most cases, winter wheat stands that only germinated this spring are more variable.  Fertilizer applications on fall cereal acres continued.
  • Pasture and hay growth continues to be slow due to the cooler weather conditions, and in some cases excess moisture.  Pressure on feed supplies continues as producers wait to move cattle to pasture.

Southwest Region

In the Southwest Region, the only traces of snow remaining are in tree-lines and headlands. Spring run-off is on the decline with water levels in sloughs and potholes also dropping.
Initial field work over this past week included anhydrous ammonia applications and general seed bed preparation.  There was some initial seeding, primarily spring wheat, across much of the southwest region. The percent seeded for all crops to date is below 10%. Seeding for most producers is expected to commence this week.

Fall rye and winter wheat have initiated spring growth with fertilizing now in progress. The fall rye continues to be in good to excellent condition and is in the two to three leaf stage. The condition of the winter wheat crop is more variable with very uneven emergence and survival being reported. Much of the winter wheat seed that did not emerge last fall has deteriorated; plants which did emerge are also seeing declining plant populations.

Pasture and hay growth continues to be delayed due to the cooler temperatures this spring and has meant a delay in moving cattle out on spring pastures. Hay shortages continue to be reported throughout the region with many cattle producers resorting to alternative feed rations. Water levels in sloughs and dugouts are at 75 to 80% capacity, depending upon local runoff.  Some producers are pumping from adjacent sloughs into dugouts in order to fill to capacity.

Northwest Region

Mostly favorable weather conditions prevailed across the Northwest Region. Drying winds and warmer daytime temperatures, along with several nights with freezing temperatures, are improving field drying conditions. Soil temperatures and field conditions are better through Roblin and Swan River areas than the Dauphin/Ethelbert areas. The Pas has normal field conditions at this date. In the areas east of the Escarpment, which had recent heavy snowfall, the extent of water ponding in fields is subsiding.  Some snow remains in tree cover near field borders.

Some spring wheat was seeded around Roblin. Elsewhere in the region, there has been very limited field work; some anhydrous ammonia applications began on the lighter, better drained soil types. Annual crop land moisture is rated surplus to adequate.
Winter wheat survival ranges from excellent to fair. Growth continues but fields are variable in staging, reflecting ranges of establishment into drier field moisture conditions last fall.
Freezing night temperatures have also delayed pasture and forage development.  Dugout water levels are generally at 100%.

Central Region

The past week started with warm weather but slid into cooler temperatures. The only traces of snow remain primarily in the areas which received the last heavy snowfall. Fields range from saturated in areas of highest snowfall or flooding, to adequate in areas where spring runoff is complete. In many areas where soil moisture levels were drier than normal going in to the winter, subsoil moisture is lower than in past years.
Fields are firming up and drying, especially with recent windy conditions. Manure, dry fertilizer and anhydrous ammonia applications are being made. Harrowing operations are occurring on some of the wettest fields. Slower progress is occurring in areas to the west and north of the region where conditions are wetter.  Seeding progress ranges from getting started to less than 5% complete in these areas.  However, in the areas south and east in the region, seeding progress is at 5 to 25% complete. Cereals, corn, potatoes and canola are being seeded. Seeding of soybean acres will start this week. Seeding should be general within the region by mid-week.
Some winterkill is noted in winter wheat and fall rye crops; field by field evaluation continues, especially as growth is slow. Crop injury is most evident in areas of poor snow catch and cover. Fertilizer applications are continuing on the fall cereal acres, with excellent progress.

Perennial weeds are just starting to grow. Some annual weeds are starting to germinate, but growth is minimal. As a result, essentially no pre-seed weed control is being done.
Some forage fields are just starting to green up. Hard frosts have stressed alfalfa growth. Pastures are rated as very poor to fair.  Growth has been limited due to cold conditions, in some cases excess moisture, or from overgrazing last year.  Heat would be welcomed to encourage growth.  Some pastures are short of moisture. Some cattle have been moved to pasture and are being supplemented with feed.
Dugouts are full or close to full in much of the region; those not on water runways are lower. Levels range from 70 to 100% full. There are some reports of water tables being lower than normal for this time of year.

Eastern Region

Very little rainfall occurred throughout most of the Eastern Region. Cumulative rainfall varied from a 0.5 to 2 mm. Soils surfaces are drying up quickly. There is still some snow in tree lines but it is disappearing rapidly. Annual crop land topsoil moisture levels in the northern and central areas of the region are rated as adequate.
Seeding began over the weekend with hard red spring wheat, barley, oats and grain corn being seeded. Fertilizer spreading and banding started as early as last Thursday, especially in cases where fields were destined for corn. Most of the progress is noted around Beausejour and Steinbach areas. If the weather is favourable, rapid progress in seeding is expected across the Eastern Region by mid-week.

Late seeded winter wheat fields are still being assessed. Earliest seeded fields are in the five leaf or more, while later seeded fields are in the one to three leaf stage. Fertilizer spreading is ongoing with progress at 50% done. Spreading was held up by strong winds if spin spreaders were used. Fertilizer applications on winter wheat should be completed shortly, depending on weather conditions.
Hay conditions in the region are rated as 60 to 75% good and 25 to 40% fair. The condition of pasturelands in the northern areas are rated as 50% good, 25% fair and 25% poor, while pasturelands in the southern areas are rated as 60% fair and 40% poor.  Livestock in the northern areas of the region continue to be supplemented either in confined feeding areas or on pasture. In southern regions producers are putting cattle on pasture as feed supplies are tight.  Availability of livestock water (including dugouts) is rated as 90 to 100% adequate in the region.

Interlake Region

Cooler temperatures have extended the spring drying period on most fields in the Interlake Region. Scattered showers were reported throughout the region towards the end of the week. Higher temperatures in upcoming forecasts will likely increase seeding throughout the region. A very small amount of acres in the Warren, Stonewall, Grosse Isle regions were seeded, while North Interlake still deals with wet soil conditions which are delaying seeding operations.
Winter wheat and forage fields seem to have survived with minimal winterkill. Fertilizer is being applied to winter wheat and forage crops as plants continue to break winter dormancy.

Pasture growth is slow due to excess moisture and cool temperatures; however, warm temperatures would help increase forage production for livestock already on pasture. Dugout conditions are good.