Crop Report: Issue 14, August 5, 2014


Weekly Provincial Summary

  • Harvest 2014 has started with winter wheat harvest occurring in the Central Region of Manitoba. Preliminary reports indicate average yields, with fusarium damaged kernels present in harvested samples.
  • The continuing hot and dry weather conditions are advancing crops quickly.  
  • Precipitation would be welcomed in some areas of the province for continued growth and grain filling in crops, and regrowth in hay fields and pastures. 


Southwest Region 

Scattered showers throughout the Southwest Region resulted in 10 to 15 mm of precipitation. Crops are progressing well due to good growing conditions; temperatures were average to above average most of the week.
The mid-May seeded cereal crops are beginning to turn, particularly in areas where moisture is limited or where nitrogen deficiencies were noted due to leaching or runoff from earlier excess moisture. Visual symptoms of fusarium head blight in this year’s winter wheat crop are at moderate to high levels. The variability in crop development resulted in a wide window for fusarium infection to occur, making the timing of a fungicide application difficult. Complicating fusarium head blight identification is the presence of both common and take-all root rots. Fusarium head blight levels, although present in the spring wheat crop, look to be at lower levels when compared to winter wheat.
Some of the earlier seeded canola is done flowering. This year’s crop is shorter than normal due to early season excess moisture, which has renewed interest in straight cutting. The major disease concern in canola continues to be brown girdling root rot where plant stems are pinching off at the soil surface. The disease is becoming more noticeable as pod filling progresses and plants begin to lodge.
Most soybean fields are looking good as they handled the excess moisture better than other crops. Early seeded fields are at pod formation stage. There is no disease pressure reported. Volunteer canola is a problem in some fields. Field peas are maturing rapidly, especially in fields impacted by root rot.
Grasshopper numbers are beginning to increase in roadside ditches and headlands. Bertha armyworm counts are very low. No other major insect issues are noted.
Haying progress continues to go well with the great drying weather. Native grass haying is well underway on fields that are accessible. Most livestock producers are 75 to 80% complete with their hay harvest with only native and ditch hay remaining. The quality of this year’s crop continues to be well above average with overall yields coming in at 75 to 80% of normal. There continue to be many acres inundated or inaccessible for equipment. Alfalfa that was cut early will have sufficient growth for a second cut. Pastures are currently in good condition but will need moisture soon to ensure growth into later summer and fall.  Native pastures are starting to show signs of overgrazing due to warmer temperatures and lower precipitation levels. Dugouts are 75 to 80% of capacity.

Northwest Region

Warm temperatures over last week continue to help crops improve throughout the Northwest Region. Soil moisture levels range throughout the region with dry conditions prevailing in the southern portion of the region and wetter conditions to the north. Rainfall amounts in the region ranged from negligible in some parts to over 63 mm in others. Rainfall was a result of short but intense thunderstorms, which also caused some wheat crops to lodge. Small hail was reported in the Swan River area.
Regionally, approximately 15% of the cereal crop is at the heading/flowering stage, 70% is in the milk stage of growth and about 15% is in the dough stage. In the canola crop, 85% is at some stage of flowering with 15% podded. In soybeans, 25% of the crop is flowering and about 75% is podded.  Approximately 10% of the field peas are blooming with 90% podded. In general, crop development is about two weeks behind normal for this time in the growing season.
Fungicide applications are nearing completion. Weed control is adequate although wild oats are becoming more visible above the crop canopy. Bertha armyworm activity is reported at The Pas where one field of canola required treatment.
First cut tame hay harvest is nearing completion, although isolated showers and thunderstorms are slowing operations in some areas. Native hay harvest is ongoing but will be delayed around the lakes due to high water levels. Cereal silage will be harvested shortly. Pastures are rated good and those in the western parts of the region will benefit from recent weekend rains.

Central Region

Average daytime temperatures and sunny weather prevailed for most of the week in the Central Region, along with minimal rainfall.
Crops are looking good, except in areas where excess moisture caused damage. Rain would be welcome in most areas of the region. Crops are maturing and turning color in areas that have poorer moisture holding capacity or where crops have shallow root systems due to earlier excess moisture. Irrigation continues on potatoes.
Winter wheat harvest has begun in the Altona area, as well as north of Morden. Early reports indicate yields in the mid 60 bu/acre range, with fusarium damaged kernels at moderate to high levels.  Winter wheat harvest will continue this week. Cereals are fully headed, and fungicide applications are done due to the advanced stage of most crops and reduced risk of disease with the drier conditions. The earliest seeded cereals are starting to turn color as they ripen. Canola ranges from full flower to full pod. Soybeans are flowering, with most in the R3 stage, although some are more advanced. Dry beans are progressing with flowering complete in most fields. There are reports of bacterial blight showing up in a number of fields. Corn development is variable; mostly in the early tassel to silking stages. The crop has improved, but in some areas is significantly set back by excess moisture. Fungicide applications will begin this week for head rot prevention in sunflowers.
Wild oats, green foxtail, barnyard grass and volunteer canola is evident above the canopy of many fields.
Symptoms of fusarium head blight is reported in many winter wheat fields, even those receiving fungicide treatments. Fusarium head blight infection is also evident in spring wheat, but at much lower levels than in winter wheat. Blackleg lesions are evident on leaves in many canola fields. No reports to date of stem lesions. Brown girdling root rot is reported in some canola fields, as are other root rots. Some leaf spotting due to brown spot and bacterial blight is evident in soybean, as well as root rots. Bacterial blight is found in edible bean fields.
Diamondback moth and bertha armyworm monitoring is complete; overall numbers are low. There are reports of thrips feeding on canola in the western part of the region. Sunflower fields are being monitored for sunflower beetle activity, with no reports to date of numbers sufficient to require insecticide treatment. No reports of soybean aphid. Headlands and roadsides were treated for grasshoppers where numbers are the highest, also some fields.
Silage of alfalfa is underway; yields look good. High humidity and heavy morning dew is increasing drying time for baling second cut. Tame forage yields are average to above average. Growth in pastures is adequate, although a rain would be beneficial.

Eastern Region

Light rainfall occurred throughout most of the Eastern Region, with accumulations ranging from 2 to 4 mm.
Spraying of herbicides and fungicides in the region is complete. Insect activity continues to be monitored.  While isolated reports of diamondback moth in canola, grasshoppers in a variety of crops and armyworms in cereals at levels at or near economic thresholds are noted, insect pressure remains low overall. Defoliation of soybean due to a variety of insects is also noted but levels remain below economic thresholds. More reports of root rot-induced wilts in soybeans were received last week. Pre-harvest herbicide applications on winter wheat continue. All crops continue to improve as the favourable growing conditions continue.
Haying is in full swing with approximately 75% of the hay harvested. Cattle are doing well on pasture as low spots are drying up. Availability of livestock water is rated as 100% adequate across the Eastern Region.

Interlake Region

Trace amounts of rainfall fell throughout the Interlake Region, leaving 2 to 5 mm of precipitation. In isolated areas, rainfall up to 25 mm fell in thunderstorms. Drier weather helped advance crop staging in all crops.
Crops throughout the region are generally doing well with the good growing conditions. Winter wheat fields are close to harvest as farmers are getting close to swathing or already have desiccated. Spring cereals are starting to turn color as most fields are in the milk or soft dough stages. Canola fields have mostly podded, except for the later seeded fields which are still blooming. Corn fields are tasseling while the majority of sunflower fields started to flower. Soybeans started to pod and crop development is advancing with the warm temperatures. Forage grass seeds continue to be harvested and swathed throughout the Interlake Region. Producers are removing leaf cutter bee nests due to nests being full. Alfalfa seed production fields are looking good with the warm conditions.
Rising lake levels continue to flood more hay land, crop land and pasture acres along the lakes. In other areas of the region where hay harvest is able to occur, good hay yields with good quality are reported. Well managed pastures are showing resiliency to current drier weather conditions. Some areas that were impacted by early spring rains are still not passable in parts of the North Interlake.