Crop Report: Issue 24, October 13, 2015


Weekly Provincial Summary 

  • Provincially, harvest in Manitoba is over 95% complete. Edible beans and field pea harvest is 100% complete, spring cereal crops are 99% complete, canola 98% complete, flax and soybeans 85% complete, sunflowers 50% complete and grain corn 45% complete.
  • Crop yields in Manitoba are generally at or slightly above 10 year average yields. However, lower than average yields for various crop types were reported in some areas of the province, largely due to extreme weather events during the growing season including May and June frost events, wind resulting in lodging, hail and extremes in moisture.
  • Quality for majority of crop types is average. Cereal crops harvested later in the season saw a decrease in quality due to poorer weather conditions at harvest.
  • Germination and stand establishment of winter cereal crops this fall is rated very good to excellent.
  • Fall field work, including tillage, soil testing, post-harvest weed control and fertilizer applications of anhydrous ammonia is on-going.

Southwest Region

Growing conditions were favourable in 2015 across most of the Southwest Region. With an early spring, seeding operations started earlier than the previous year. There were cooler weather conditions in early May followed by normal temperatures. However, frost events near the end of May and first week of June across most of the region resulted in crop damage leading to reseeding of impacted acres. Total rainfall over the growing season starting May 1 ranged from 76 to 156% of normal. Precipitation was often timely, which benefited crops. The biggest weather story of the year was the F2 category tornado that touched down near Tilston. Normal to above normal September temperatures allowed most of longer season crops to reach maturity.
Overall, harvest is nearly complete in areas south of Highway #1; there may be the odd, later sown field remaining. Harvest operations north of Highway #1 is 80 to 85% complete as precipitation over the last two weeks slowed progress. There was 15 to 30 mm of rain in areas along Highway #16 last week and on the weekend.
Winter cereals were good this year due to good growing conditions. There were some reports of frost injury in early June, but most fields recovered very well. Most of the winter wheat harvest was done by mid to end of August. Yield range was 60 to 80 bu/acre. Quality was good due to less fusarium head blight infection. The fall rye crop was average with yields in the 50 to 60 bu/acre range.
Spring wheat harvest is nearing completion with yield reports of 50 to 60 bu/acre. Quality loss is noted in some spring wheat samples; however, the majority of the crop was graded as either #1 or #2 CWRS with protein levels averaging 13 to 14.5%. There is still less than 3% of spring wheat to be harvested in areas of north of Highway #1 due to poor harvest conditions. Most of these fields will be downgraded to feed grade due to mildew and sprouting.
Barley yields range from 70 to 80 bu/acre with good quality. Oats yields are average to above average with good quality. Yields range from 95 to 100 bu/acre.
The canola crop struggled early in the season as frost at the end of May and first week of June resulted in reseeding of a significant number of canola fields in the Southwest Region. There were also some reports of canola being reseeded due to flea beetles. However, canola yields were generally very good to excellent. Non-reseeded canola is completely harvested with average yields of 40 bu/acre. Approximately 10 to 15% of the reseeded canola remains left to be harvested in northern areas of the region. Reseeded canola yielded approximately 50 bu/acre. The latest harvested canola also has higher moisture levels in the 11 to 13% range and will need to be dried prior to long term storage. Many canola fields had blackleg infection, but sclerotinia was minimal. Quality of the canola crop is good to excellent with majority grading #1 CAN. Minimal downgrading due to green counts occurred this year.
Flax harvest continues with progress at 60 to 70% complete, with yields of 30 to 35 bu/acre. Quality is good to excellent. Field peas were very successful in the Southwest Region this year. Most fields yielded 45 to 50 bu/acre with good quality.
The soybean harvest experienced better progress later in the week as moisture levels approached dry levels. The soybean harvest is 70 to 75% complete with yield reports continuing at well above long term averages at 40 to 45 bu/acre.
Sunflower and grain corn harvest has just nicely started with no reported yields.
Established winter wheat and fall rye continue to respond favourably to recent rainfall and periods of above normal temperatures. Most fields are in the 2 to 3 leaf stage, 1 tiller stage of development.
Early in the year, hot dry weather prevailed but most areas received timely rains starting in July which benefited hay fields and pastures. Feed supplies are considered adequate in most areas. Some areas report that feed quality is less than average and supplementation to improve feed quality will be required. Greenfeed and silage crops have average to above average yield and quality; in some cases making up the difference for poor hay crops. Straw supplies are adequate.
The recent rainfall allowed for excellent conditions for the application of anhydrous ammonia which began across much of the region last week. Subsoil moisture conditions are reported to adequate. However, some areas that received heavier precipitation amounts report excess moisture conditions. Water supplies are adequate.

Northwest Region

Favourable harvest weather including drying winds and warm temperatures in the Northwest Region generally resulted in completion of harvest operations. Some fields of flax and soybeans are still remaining; harvest of hemp is just beginning. The favorable weather allowed major progress to be made in fall tillage operations and fertilizer applications.
Wheat harvest is generally complete in the region. The average yield for hard red spring wheat is 45 to 50 bu/acre with about 25% of the crop grading #1 CWRS, 55% grading #2 CWRS, and 20% grading #3 CWRS or less. Some producers are reporting high protein wheat and heavy bushel weights.
The canola harvest is also wrapping up at 95% complete. Those acres remaining were reseeded due to spring frost or delayed emergence due to dry spring conditions. Reported canola yields averaged approximately 45 to 50 bu/acre. The quality of canola harvested is average for the region with 70% #1 CAN and 30% #2 CAN.
Approximately 70% of the soybean crop is harvested. The average yield is estimated at 35 to 50 bu/acre, with 75% grading #2 CAN and 25% grading #3 CAN. Harvest of the field pea crop is complete with an average yield of 45 bu/acre grading #2 CAN. The flax crop is approximately 80% complete with an average yield of 25 bu/acre. Most of the flax is grading #2 CW.
The major limitation to crop production for 2015 in the Northwest Region was an early season frost resulting in reseeding of canola. Some canola was also affected by dry conditions in the spring which delayed germination and emergence. These reseeded acres and delayed emerging fields were later staged than the rest of the canola crop.
Producers were able to limit disease and insect pressure due to appropriate application of fungicides and insecticides to susceptible crops at the most beneficial stage.
Some second cut hay harvest still continues due to lack of frost in some areas of the North ‎Parkland. Producers are still cutting meadows in native hay lands as well. Silage harvest is still occurring due to wet conditions delaying operations. Many producers still have cattle on pastures with the warmer weather a allowing for extended grazing. Water supplies are adequate.

Central Region

Rainfall over the weekend resulted in 10 to 25 mm of precipitation across most of the Central Region. Unusually warm weather allowed for excellent harvest, field work and fertilization progress. Fall frosts had minimal impact on quality, as crops had matured prior to the frost. Isolated areas in the northwest are still wet, limiting harvest progress, as well as fall field work.
The winter of 2014/15 saw lower than normal snow accumulation. Spring melt was early, and runoff lower than normal for much of the region. Wet conditions last fall delayed the start of seeding in the northwest part of the region, including the Plumas and Glenella areas, but for many producers seeding started in April. The majority of cereals were seeded by the first week of May.
All areas reported dry conditions early in the season and some producers faced the dilemma of choosing to seed shallow into dry soil, or deeper into moisture. Pastures and hay fields were also slow to recover. However, rainfall later in May was very welcome.
Spring growth in general was slow due to cool temperatures through much of May. Very little pre-seed burnoff was done, accounting for some weed issues in the less competitive crops. Snow, sleet and wind in the third week of May was followed by frost at the end of May. Damage to crops resulted in reseeding of canola, and also some soybeans. Heavy rains resulted in crop damage of some degree in much of the region, and hail hit several times through the growing season. Herbicide applications were a struggle due to adverse weather conditions; both weed control and crop tolerance issues resulted. An extended dry period in August limited fill in some crops, dependent on crop stage. Strong winds at intervals through the growing season had a bigger impact than normal, and lodged crops caused many harvest challenges. Smoke from forest fires in July and late August tempered some of the hottest temperatures. The resulting haze may have had some impact on length of bloom period in canola. The late August haze slowed drying time for morning dews, and limited harvesting hours.
Harvest presented challenges as wet conditions caused problems for some producers. Lodged crops were a much bigger concern than in most years. The majority of the winter wheat, spring wheat, oat and barley crops were generally good quality. Later rains resulted in some downgrading, but to a fraction of the crop as compared to 2014.
Winter wheat and fall rye came through winter well. Most fields were reported to be in excellent and good condition, with only a fraction of acres rated as fair. Minimal acres were re-seeded; a result of poor germination due to dry conditions last fall. Harvest of winter and spring wheat started in August, with the majority complete by late August/early September.
Winter wheat yields ranged from 55 to 90 bu/acre, averaging 60 to 70 bu/acre. Proteins were average to good. Quality was generally good, with average to low fusarium damaged kernel levels. Some downgrading occurred due to mildew and sprouting when poor harvest conditions prevailed. Hybrid and fall rye had some excellent yields, ranging from 60 to 100 bu/acre. There were few if any reports of lodging in winter wheat, fall and hybrid rye.
Spring wheat yields ranged from 45 to 90 bu/acre, with most reporting 55 to 70 bu/acre average. Variability in quality was due to excess moisture causing downgrading at harvest. There is much lower with little if any impact from fusarium head blight. Protein levels were good to excellent. CPSR and general purpose wheats ranged from 50 to 100 bu/acre, averaging 60 to 70 bu/acre, with lower proteins on the higher yielding fields. On average, proteins were higher than last year. Lodging was a significant issue in many of the spring wheat fields. Although some yields were lower than expected, yields were remarkable for the extent of lodging.
Barley yields ranged from 70 to 90 bu/acre, with the majority averaging 70 to 85 bu/acre. Quality is good. Oats ranged from 90 to 140 bu/acre, averaging 110 to 125 bu. Less of the crop was downgraded this year; majority is grading #3 CAN or better. Downgrading that did occur was due to mildew where rain during harvest was an issue. There were higher number of thin kernels noted in some fields, but the majority of acres had good to excellent bushel weights. The oat crop was better than anticipated, following the extensive lodging problems or delayed harvest due to green stems.
Canola yields were good to excellent, although the average yield is down from last year. The crop struggled early on; seed sat in cold ground for an extended period making it more susceptible to flea beetles and seedling diseases. Cutworms were an issue in some fields. Some fields were reseeded due to the early season stresses, with the late May frost having the biggest impact. Many fields had problems with blackleg. Sclerotinia had a somewhat bigger impact than last year, and in combination with lodging due to strong winds in July, harvest was a challenge. Yields were variable, ranging from 15 to 60 bu/acre, averaging 40 to 45 bu/acre. Many yields benefited from the crop being swathed late, or straight cut. Excess water and quality is excellent for the most part, with the crop grading #1 CAN. Minimal if any downgrading due to green count this year, although there were some reports of sprouts where swaths sat for extended periods.
Flax yields range from 18 to 37 bu/acre; average is expected to be in the 25 to 33 bu/acre range. Quality is good. Peas ranged from 40 to 60 bu/acre; average 50 bu/acre. Harvest is complete.
Edible bean harvest is complete. Yields are lower than last year, averaging 1500 lbs/acre, with most ranging from 1200 to 2000 lbs/acre. Quality is good. White mould was reported, but no significant yield or quality loss.
Soybean harvest is essentially complete. Yields vary from 15 to 60 bu/acre, averaging 35 to 40 bu/acre. Higher yields were obtained in areas receiving timely rains. A stretch of hot dry weather limited pod fill in some cases. White mould was reported, with minimal impact to yield or quality. Phytophthera was evident in almost every field, although impact was limited. Root rots related to fusarium, pythium and rhizoctonia were also evident. There was also little if any impact from soybean aphid, but cutworms were an issue in some fields early on, and some reseeding took place.
Sunflower harvest continues. Yield reports to date range from 1500 to 3000 lbs/acre, with average expected to be in the 1800 to 2200 lb/acre range. Sclerotinia had some impact with some lower test weights reported. Desiccation prior to harvest continues to increase, improving quality and yield with earlier harvest.
Grain corn harvest continues. Early yields range from 100 to 140 bu/acre, with average yields to date in the 100 to 120 bu/acre range. Kernel moisture levels range from the low 20% to 30% for the later maturing hybrids, but are declining. Many will wait for dry down before harvest to limit the cost of drying. Corn silage is wrapping up; average yields of 12 to 15 tons/acre.
 Potatoes ‎in the MacGregor area yielded 320 to 350 cwt and in the Carberry area, yield is 400+.
Winter wheat seeded acres are flat to lower in the region; there are fewer acres in some areas but increased in others. There is pressure on winter wheat acres, including excellent yields seen in hard red spring, general purpose and CPSR wheats. However, producers continue to include winter wheat into rotation to spread out work load and feed supply requirement. Germination and stand establishment is good to excellent this year. Crop development ranges up to the four leaf stage.
Impact of disease in most crops was minimal in 2015. Root rots were evident in many crops, both early in the season, and later when soils dried out. Sclerotinia was evident in all susceptible crops, generally at lower levels, but with some impact to yield. Most of the later canola fields were not treated with fungicide. Blackleg lesions were evident in many canola fields, and levels are increasing every year. Aster yellows were almost non-existent in canola. Leaf spotting diseases including brown spot and bacterial blight were evident in soybeans, and bacterial blight in edible beans. Fusarium head blight was not the issue in cereals as it was in 2014.
The main insect problems this year were flea beetles, cutworms and grasshoppers. Isolated spraying continued to the end of August for grasshoppers. There were some wireworm problems early in the season. Some diamondback moth larvae feeding and some lygus damage were noted. Minimal insecticide applications were necessary. High numbers of beneficial insects were seen in many fields.
Soil testing continues. Results are variable, but there are many reports of very low soil test nitrogen and phosphorous. In the case of phosphorous (P), there are several reasons: tighter rotations leaning to big phosphorous-use crops, changes in seeding implements that limit the amount of P safely applied with seed, changes to crops in rotation (i.e. soybeans) that are very sensitive to seed-placed P but are big users of P, and trend to higher average yields while applied P levels remain the same.
Fall cultivation continues with excellent progress made in much of the region; majority of harvested fields have seen one tillage pass, except in the northwest areas. Post-harvest weed control has wrapped up with recent frosts. Fall fertilizing has begun, but progress is slower than normal, mostly due to warmer than normal temperatures. Good conditions allow for anhydrous ammonia applications. Many have waited for soil temperatures to cool and harvest to be completed. There continues to be an increase in fall phosphate fertilizer applications, due to low soil test P levels, as well as equipment limitations for spring seed-placed or side-banded applications at ‘seed-safe’ levels.
Manure applications are made as conditions allow. The percentage of crop residue burned is very low this year. Demand for straw continues to be good, and much of the straw is baled. Excellent choppers improved the ease of returning straw to the soil.
Hay fields are in fair to good condition. Alfalfa hay saw average yields of 1.25 tonnes/acre for first cut, 0.6 tonnes/acre for second cut and 0.4 tonnes/acre for third cut. Brome/alfalfa hay had average yields of 1.5 tonnes/acre for first cut and 0.6 tonnes/acre for second cut. Other tame hay had an average first cut yield of 1.25 tonnes/acre. Wild hay had an average first cut yield of 0.8 to 1.0 tonnes/acre. Greenfeed had an average yield of 2.0 tonnes/acre. There is an adequate to good supply of almost all classes of feed, including straw, for most of the region. Some shortages will be seen, including around Lake Manitoba due to continuing wet conditions. Quality of feed is good, with some issues due to maturity and rain during harvest periods. Cattle will be coming off summer pasture soon. Some cattle were moved to harvested crop land; others will be moved to second or third cut hay fields for fall grazing. Late fall corn grazing should start mid to late November, to be supplemented with hay. Pastures in the south and west areas of the region are rated as fair to poor due to dry conditions; northwest area pastures are rated as good. Dugouts range from 60 to 100% full.

Eastern Region

Over the weekend, rainfall occurred across most districts of the Eastern Region. Rainfall accumulations ranged from 10 to 26 mm with higher accumulations occurring in northern areas. Rainfall events were accompanied by winds up to 70 km/hr with gusts to 100 km/hr. Some lodging of sunflower and corn crops awaiting harvest occurred but damage appears to be minimal. Harvesting and other field operations are expected to resume later in the week. Producers in the Eastern Region are mostly caught up with their field work. Manure application is on-going when weather permits. Topsoil moisture conditions for both crop land and hay/pasture land across the region are rated as adequate.
Winter wheat had an average yield of 63 bu/acre with the crop grading 45% #2 CWRW, 45% #3 CWRW and 10% CW Feed. Producers expressed concern with generally lower than expected yields and sometimes higher than expected levels of fusarium head blight infection. The acres seeded to winter wheat this fall has dropped by approximately 35% compared to the fall of 2014.
Spring wheat had an average yield of 52 bu/acre with the crop grading 10% #1 CW, 80% #2 CW, 5% #3 CW and 5% CW Feed. While fusarium head blight was present, it was not considered a significant quality issue. Oats had an average yield of 100 bu/acre with the crop grading 60% #2 CW, 30% #3 CW, 5% #4 CW and 5% Feed.
Canola had an average yield of 42 bu/acre with 100% of the crop grading #1 CAN.
The soybean harvest in the Eastern Region is virtually complete with only a few fields remaining to harvest. Soybeans have an average yield of 39 bu/acre with 100% of the crop grading #2 CAN. Corn harvest is around 35% complete with average yields of 145 bu/acre; 100% of crop grading #2 CW thus far. Sunflower harvest is approximately 60% complete; average yield to date of 1750 lbs/acre with grading still to be determined. Quality problems are anticipated, particularly with confectionary types. Significant levels of head rot were noted in many sunflower fields.
Alfalfa hay saw average yields of 2 tons/acre for first cut, 2 tons/acre for second cut and 1 ton/acre for third cut. Brome/alfalfa hay had average yields of 2.25 tons/acre for first cut and 1.75 tons/acre for second cut. Other tame hay had an average first cut yield of 1.75 tons/acre. Wild hay had an average first cut yield of 1 ton/acre. Greenfeed had an average yield of 2.5 tons/acre. Currently, hay supplies are rated at 15% surplus and 85% adequate. Straw, greenfeed and feed grain supplies are all rated as adequate. Overall, winter feed supplies in most areas are good with producers having a surplus of hay. With the rains this past summer, hay quality is down from last year. Most cattle are still out on pasture, and some producers have moved calves home or to market.

Interlake Region

Overall, the 2015 cropping year was considered average in the Interlake Region. Weather events such as thunderstorms and hail throughout the season caused crop loss through reduced stands or shattering of standing/swathed crops. In some areas of the region including Eriksdale, Ashern and Moosehorn areas, dry conditions resulted in poor crop germination, limited pasture use and reduced hay yields. However, excess moisture impacted many acres in the region, including Arborg, Riverton, Teulon, Selkirk and Woodlands areas. Drier conditions were experienced in the Eriksdale, Ashern and Moosehorn region.
Over the past week, above seasonal temperatures along with minimal rainfall allowed producers to continue and finish up harvest in some areas. Harvest is estimated to be 95% complete in the Interlake Region. Soybeans, sunflowers, and grain/silage corn are all that is remaining to be harvested
Winter wheat averaged 60 to 70 bu/acre with proteins ranging from 10.5 to 11.0%. Most winter wheat was graded #2 CWRW with very few samples showing any fusarium head blight.
Spring wheat yields varied throughout the region. South Interlake had many producers reporting 60 to 70 bu/acre while north Interlake reports came in at 40 to 60 bu/acre with proteins ranging from 13.5 to 16.0%. Most spring wheat graded #2 CW due to environmental conditions during harvest. Barley and oats came off good this year with barley averaging 70 to 80 bu/acre, and oats averaging 90 to 110 bu/acre with the majority grading a #2 CW. Overall, there was very little disease pressure in cereal crops this year.
Canola yields ranged from 30 to 40 bu/acre with some reports of yields going as high as 50 to 60 bu/acre in certain areas. Majority of canola was graded #1 CAN. Flax yields ranged from 10 to 25 bu/acre. Peas came in at 50 to 60 bu/acre and all graded a #1 CAN. Soybean yields range from 30 to 40 bu/acre with no grading issues noted.

Harvesting of sunflowers is still ongoing with no reports on yields and grain corn harvest is expected to start later in the week.
Fall tillage is on-going but with recent rain events progress will be slowed for a few days.
Rains over the Thanksgiving weekend brought many of the soils in the Interlake Region up to field capacity for moisture. Some corn silage has yet to be harvested; second and third cut alfalfa is virtually complete. Cattle are being moved home or to market from summer pastures.