Crop Report: Issue 1, May 5, 2014


Weekly Provincial Summary

  • Cool, wet conditions are slowing the start of the 2014 growing season in Manitoba. 
  • Some producers were able to start seeding in the Southwest and Central Regions with limited progress noted.  For majority of areas in Manitoba, warm dry weather is needed in order to allow field work and seeding operations to start.
  • Manitoba’s winter cereal crops are breaking dormancy and resuming growth.  However, due to continuing cold conditions growth is slow. Field by field evaluations are currently on-going to determine winter survival and crop establishment.
  • Pasture and hay growth has also been delayed due to cool and wet conditions.



 Rainfall and cloudy weather existed throughout the Southwest Region most of last week.  Reports of 5 to 10 mm in several areas north of Highway #1 were received, while 15 to 20 mm was reported in Killarney and Deloraine areas.  Soil temperatures vary from 3 to 50C across the region.  Snow is still found in bushes and on north-facing slopes.  Spring runoff has peaked and begun to decline.  

Some producers were able to start seeding but the cold and wet weather conditions hindered their efforts.  Most areas need five to seven days of warm, dry weather before seeding can start. Most winter wheat seeded into adequate crop stubble is breaking dormancy and looks to be in good condition.

Forage development is delayed with the cool temperatures. Alfalfa is approximately 12 mm in height and has experienced a number of frosts, further delaying its growth. Feed supplies are becoming short for many producers as pasture growth is delayed. Some producers are turning cows out to sacrifice paddocks due to feed shortages and/or overly wet corrals.  Water levels in dugouts and sloughs range from full to over-capacity. 



Cool and unsettled weather conditions prevailed throughout the Northwest Region last week.  Soil moisture varies over the region with mostly adequate levels; some localized ponding in the Dauphin, Roblin, and Swan River areas to surplus soil moisture conditions around The Pas area.  Soil temperatures are cold with frost detected anywhere from 4 to 8 inches in the northern part of the region to 8 to 10 inches in the southern part of the region.  Snow remains in some treed areas and along ditches and fence lines.  Weed and volunteer crop growth is negligible. Spring seeding operations have not yet begun.

Forage and pasture land is saturated in the Dauphin and Ethelbert areas.  There is very little forage growth due to cool conditions.  Livestock are still being supplemental fed on pastures. Dugouts are full, many with ice on them yet. 



Cool, wet conditions continue to prevail in the Central Region.  Rainfall early in the week ranged as high as 25 to 40 mm in eastern parts of the region; western areas received 5 to 15 mm.  Snow and rain showers occurred over the weekend with little accumulation.  Snow banks are still present along many treelines, especially in north-western parts of the region.  Temperatures are still dropping below freezing at night and soils are slow to warm. Soil moisture is adequate to surplus, with wind helping to dry out fields.  Runoff is less than average due to a slow melt and low water content of snow.

Fields are firming up and little field work has begun as most remain too wet.  The odd field of spring wheat is seeded in the Carman, Elm Creek, Roland and Winkler areas.  With rain in the forecast, progress in the upcoming week is expected to be limited. 

Weather conditions are making it difficult to evaluate winter wheat and perennial ryegrass fields.  Some fields have broken dormancy and are starting to resume growth; field by field evaluations are on-going to assess stand establishment.  Early indications are fields with good snow cover due to adequate stubble and density are faring better, although severe cold after snow melt may have compromised some stands.  Very few fields are fertilized to date, but applications will continue this week as field conditions allow.  In many situations nitrogen will go on before stand survival can be determined as early nitrogen application is critical to good yields. 

Hay and pasture development is slow; spring regrowth is beginning on inclined southern exposures while other fields remain dormant. Grasses and alfalfa in tame hay are starting to show some new growth.  Pasture condition is currently rated as poor because there is very little regrowth due to cold conditions.  Any cattle out on pasture currently are being supplemental fed.  Availability of water for livestock is adequate; dugouts having refilled sufficiently.



Varying amounts of rainfall occurred throughout most of the Eastern Region. Cumulative rainfall varied from 0 to 10 mm and temperatures continue to be below normal.  Soils remain cold with soil temperatures in the past week fluctuating from 0.5 to 70C.  There is very little standing water but fields have generally remained too muddy to enter.  No seeding has taken place, and intermittent light rains also kept producers from doing field work such as pre-seeding tillage and spreading fertilizer on winter wheat. 

Winter wheat development is slow due to the cold weather. Winter wheat condition and survival is still being determined.  Field inspections done to date indicate the crop survived winter well and will resume growth as soon as the weather returns to more normal temperatures. Most producers are focused on getting fertilizer applied once field conditions allow. 

The majority of hay and pasture conditions is rated as fair.  Some fertilizer was spread on hay fields. On most farms, livestock remain in confined feeding areas or on sacrifice paddocks as pastures are not yet ready. Hay supplies are adequate and there is feed available for purchase in the area. Availability of livestock water is rated as 100% adequate.



Cool temperatures along with scattered showers and trace amounts of snowfall prevailed throughout the Interlake Region.  The majority of snow has melted throughout the region, although snow banks along tree lines remain. Across most of the region, water levels have dropped in ditches and rivers allowing any excess moisture from the spring thaw to runoff.  However, areas in the North Interlake continue to see slow water runoff. 
Fields are drying but soil temperatures are still cold with average soil temperatures ranging from 0.5 to 5.30C.  Field activity is limited in the region.  Higher, drier land in the South Interlake may see some field work during the weekend or the beginning of next week. 
Winter wheat fields have broken dormancy throughout the region but crop growth is slow due to the cooler temperatures.  Fertilizer applications on winter wheat fields may start later in the week if weather conditions allow. 
Due to the cooler temperatures, pasture and hay fields are off to a slow start.  Livestock producers who have put their animals on pastures are supplemental feeding.  Dugout conditions are rated as good.