Crop Report: Issue 11, July 15, 2013


Weekly Provincial Summary


  • A weather system containing strong winds, heavy rains and hail passed through an area of the Southwest Region. Field and forage crops, as well shelterbelts and farm infrastructure, were impacted by the storm. Damage to annual crops ranges from light to severe with assessments continuing over the next several days.
  • Good growing conditions in other areas of Manitoba continue to advance crops, as well as allowing producers to make good progress with haying operations and applications of fungicides.


Southwest Region

In the Southwest Region, warm and humid conditions early in the week were followed by severe thunderstorms, hail and damaging winds on the weekend. Rainfall amounts across the region varied from 10 to 15 mm in northwestern, central and eastern regions to as much as 75 to 125 mm with hail and damaging winds in the Pipestone, Reston, Hartney and Pierson areas. Many crops in the Hartney to Pipestone area were damaged with severe damage also occurring to shelterbelts and yard sites. Severe lodging of many cereal and canola crops occurred across much of the southern and central portions of the Southwest Region.

Moisture levels continue to be surplus with localized flooding across most of the southwestern portions of the region and adequate in central, eastern and northern regions. Disease pressure in all crops continues with fungicide control measures ongoing across the entire region; progress is estimated to be 80 to 85% complete.
Corn and soybean crops continue to benefit from the increasing temperatures and frequent rainfall. Soybeans continue to outperform most crops in dealing with the excess moisture conditions with 75 to 80% of the crop now in the bud and early flower stage of development.
Insect activity in cereals saw increased wheat midge levels in wheat crops. However, 75 to 80% of the fields have flowered and are beyond the need for control measures. Berta armyworm monitoring saw increased moth counts in the Minnedosa, Wawanesa and Killarney areas with still relatively low numbers across much of the remaining portion of the region. Alfalfa weevil feeding in alfalfa continued last week as cutting was again being delayed due to the humid and wet weather conditions.

Pasture conditions continue to improve over this past week due to the warmer temperatures and frequent rainfall, while hay crops saw slight declines in both yield estimates and quality. Most hay crops are fully in their reproductive stages of development. Haying progress over this past week has once again been slowed by the high humidity and frequent showers with only 20 to 25% of the first cut reported as completed. Yield estimates of first cut alfalfa stands now range only at 75 to 80% of normal across the Southwest Region due to early season dryness, frost, alfalfa weevil feeding, excess moisture and now hail damage with localized flooding. Water levels in sloughs and dugouts are 95 to 100% of capacity in northern regions and 100% to over flowing in southwestern regions with little to no chance of slough or marsh hay being harvested this year.

Northwest Region

Weather conditions throughout the Northwest Region for the week were characterized by moderate to below seasonal temperatures, moderate wind conditions, consistently higher humidity levels, with periods of scattered light rain showers and occasional thunderstorms. General accumulations of precipitation ranged from 7 to 15 mm with higher amounts where thunderstorms occurred.
Field soil moisture conditions are drying and improving to mostly adequate levels. A higher proportion of fields with surplus moisture conditions prevail around Fork River, The Pas and flat or poorly drained sectors around Dauphin, McCreary and southeast of Roblin.

Crop development, stand consistency and crop conditions have sector variability from excellent to poor and are generally least favourable through Winnipegosis, McCreary and The Pas. Overall, cereals are rated as 75% of acres good to fair with canola at 65% good to fair. Cereals are 85% at flowering stage and canola at 75% flowering and 10% podding. In most areas, soybeans recovered well from the excess moisture. Soybeans are most advanced in the Ste. Rose area at fifth trifoliate stage and beginning to flower, while from Grandview to Fork River the ranges are from second to fourth trifoliate. There is localized water ponding in the later seeded and less advanced crops, particularly in the low-lying areas. However, some areas dried enough to allow some tillage operations to occur.

Fungicide applications on cereals, canola and soybeans are completed. Crop staging, high disease risk and wet field condition was challenging for producers. In many areas, producers increased use of aerial application to compliment ground fungicide application operations in a timely manner. In the moisture affected areas, many producers made the decision to forego fungicide treatment on all but a few remaining fields that have good yield potential.
Grasshoppers continue to require control on some cereals and newly established forage seed crops, usually on lighter soils and drier moisture conditions. Bertha armyworm moth trap counts are increasing with highest counts reported at San Clara, Makaroff and Woody River.

Hay harvest is proceeding slowly as weather and field conditions permit. High humidity increased drying times with some degradation in quality due to weathering. Overall, approximately 60 to 70% of tame forages remain standing and 10 to 15% is baled and yielding average or below average. Pastures and native hay lands in the Westlake sector are improving slowly from surplus moisture conditions. Dugout water levels are full in all areas.

Central Region

In the Central Region, crops continue to advance rapidly with warm temperatures. Much of the region saw some precipitation, although some areas report little to no rain and would welcome rainfall. Thunderstorms were responsible for significant variability within a short distance. Most of the region received amounts in the 10 to 25 mm range. Largest amounts included Swan Lake at 50 mm, and a small area near Morris/Lowe Farm at 40 mm. Some hail was reported.
Standing water is generally no longer a concern, but crop yellowing is evident in low lying areas and drown out areas are evident. Areas north of Gladstone are impacted the most from excess moisture damage. Some crop lodging occurred in areas of heavy rain and wind, including the Manitou and Pilot Mound area. Windy conditions continue to delay herbicide applications on the last of the late seeded crops.

Growth continues to improve in most crops. However, many fields are uneven in both crop development and plant stands; crop is also shorter in height in some fields. Late germinating wild oats are evident in some winter wheat crops, which are not as competitive compared to other years.

Most cereal crops are in full head and the later fields are advancing rapidly. Fungicide applications for fusarium head blight continue; timing continues to be a challenge due to uneven crop development within the field. The most advanced winter wheat fields are turning and most are in the soft dough stage. If weather conditions hold, preharvest applications may be made as early as next week.
All but the latest seeded canola is flowering. The earliest seeded fields will finish up blooming late this week. Reseeded fields are looking good. Fungicide applications for sclerotinia management continue where moisture conditions warrant. More blackleg lesions are being reported, but most significant concern is reported in the southwest part of the region. Fungicide applications were made to lessen the impact of the disease.

Corn crops are growing rapidly and tasselling should start later this week. Most soybeans on the east side of the region are flowering; the west side will be soon to follow. Majority of edible beans are flowering.
Some diamondback larvae were found in canola with no significant damage at this point. Higher bertha armyworm trap counts are being seen but numbers are still in the low risk range with numbers starting to decline. However, numbers warrant ongoing monitoring for crop damage. Grasshopper activity continues to increase in some areas. Populations in headlands of a number of cereal and canola fields have warranted spraying, as well as roadsides and drains. Higher populations are mostly in northeastern and northwestern areas. A few localized reports of lygus and aphids causing concern.

First cut dairy hay is mostly complete, while baling of first cut beef quality hay continues with average yields expected for most areas. Rain and high humidity has been a real hindrance in some areas. In drier areas to the west, rain was welcome to initiate regrowth. Most pastures are growing rapidly and are in good to excellent condition, although some still suffer due adverse conditions. Dugouts are full.

Eastern Region

Rainfall amounts ranging from 0 to 40 mm fell this past week in the Eastern Region. Rainfall was quite varied due to the spotty showers that moved through the area. With the high daytime temperatures continuing, a rain would be welcomed this week across the region.
Generally, crops are doing well across the Eastern Region and continue to develop quickly. Crop staging is as follows: winter wheat at the milk to soft dough stage, canola is 100% flowering with pods developing on the earlier planted fields, spring cereals are done flowering and kernel development has begun with the exception of a few late seeded fields, soybeans are 100% flowering to very early pod development, corn is 80% in the V6 to V13 to 20% VT stages with some fields beginning to tassel, field peas are still flowering, and sunflowers are in the bud stage.

Fungicide spraying on the spring wheat and canola will be finishing soon. Some insecticides were sprayed for control of grasshoppers. Monitoring for populations continues on a field to field basis.
Hay conditions in the region are rated as 75% good, 15% fair and 10% poor. Haying continues and progress varies across the region from 25% standing, 25% cut and 50% baled or silage in the southern areas of the region. In Northern areas of the region, the harvest of alfalfa and alfalfa/grass fields for use as dairy feed is complete. Regrowth of these fields is looking good and a second cut can be expected within the next week. Greenfeed production is ongoing. Barley is heading out nicely and a couple of fields in the area have been cut for silage. Roughly 75% of alfalfa, alfalfa/grass and tame hay fields intended for beef cattle feed have been harvested as first cut hay/silage. Native grasses remain standing. Average percent of normal yields are: alfalfa 95%, grass/alfalfa 100%, other tame hay 95% and wild hay 60%. Pasture conditions in the region are rated as 50 to 85% good to 10 to 25% fair and 0 to 25% poor. Livestock water, including dugouts, is rated at 100% adequate.

Interlake Region

Hot and humid conditions prevailed throughout the week in the Interlake Region. Scattered showers resulted in rainfall amounts ranging from 2 to 4 mm.
Fungicide spraying is complete in the South Interlake while fungicide application continues in the North Interlake on canola and spring wheat crops. Winter wheat is starting to ripen throughout the region. Most oat fields have begun to head; soybeans and flax are flowering. Grain corn is looking good with the recent heat. Leaf cutter bees made good progress in the last week with alfalfa fields showing good signs of pollination. Most forage grasses have finished flowering and starting to show signs of ripening.

Grasshopper populations are starting to become a concern for some producers in the North Interlake region. Producers are monitoring fields for grasshopper activity in case insecticide applications are needed to help reduce risk of yield loss.

Hay yields are quite scattered this season. Hay stands that did not receive much rainfall are yielding below average, anywhere from 1 to 1.25 tonne per acre. Stands that received rainfall are yielding above average with yields more than 2 tonnes per acre. Dugout conditions remain good.