Final 2016 Crop Report: Issue 24, October 17


Provincial Summary 

  •  Provincially, harvest in Manitoba is estimated at 92% complete. Harvest of cereal crops and field peas is 99% complete, canola and edible beans 95% complete, soybeans 88% complete, flax 50% complete, and sunflowers and grain corn harvest at 20 to 25% complete. Wet weather and field conditions have impacted harvest progress over the past few weeks.
  • Crop yields in Manitoba are generally at or slightly above 5 year averages. 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 excess moisture, wind resulting in lodging and stalk breakage, and hail.  Higher disease pressure was also noted in many crop types in 2016.
  • Quality for the majority of crop types is average to below average; wet harvest weather and disease pressure were the main causes for downgrading.
  • Germination and stand establishment of winter cereal crops is rated good to excellent; seeded acres remain stable to slightly down across the province.
  • Fall field work including tillage, soil testing, post-harvest weed control and fertilizer applications of anhydrous ammonia is on-going and as field conditions allow.


Southwest Region 

Rainfall last week and again on the weekend limited the amount of harvest done in the Southwest Region. Producers were able to make some progress Friday and Saturday but fields are still wet making harvest a challenge. Acres remaining to be harvested include about 20% of the canola crop, 5% of the wheat crop, 30% of the soybeans, 30% of the flax and almost all the sunflowers and grain corn.
Winter wheat average yield in the region estimated at 75 bu/acre with good quality; most samples are grading #1 with average protein (12 to 13%). Fall rye yields averaged 60 bu/acre with good quality; some ergot problems were reported.
Spring wheat average yields were around 50 to 60 bu/acre with average quality; downgrading due to fusarium damaged kernels with most grading #2. Protein levels are in the 14% and over range. Barley yields averaged 70 to 80 bu/acre. Barley is being downgraded to feed due to vomitoxin levels. Oats yields were average to above average at 100 to 110 bu/acre with good quality.
Canola yields averaged 40 bu/acre with good quality; majority of samples are grading #1. Yields are down from last year because of disease. Flax yields range from 25 to 30 bu/acre with good quality. The pea crop was average to below average with disease later in the growing season affecting yield and quality. Average yield was approximately 30 bu/acre.
Soybean yields are average to above average with good quality; yields are at or above 40 bu/acre. Sunflower yields are still hard to predict as very little harvest is done; early reports of around 2200 lbs/acre. Minimal number of grain corn acres has been harvested; however, crop looks to be above average. Silage yields were above average.
Most first and second cut alfalfa yields were above average with below average quality. Silage yields were above average for barley. Feed situation looks to be above average in the region.

Northwest Region

Continued cool, wet weather throughout the Northwest Region resulted in limited harvest operations over the last two weeks. Producers are struggling with wet field conditions. The spring wheat harvest is basically complete, some canola remains unharvested, fields of flax and soybeans are still remaining with harvest of hemp just beginning. Most of the grain harvested in the last two weeks has been at tough moisture levels and will require drying to bring moisture down to levels adequate for storage. Some fieldwork has been completed as harvest and field conditions allow. Very little anhydrous ammonia has been applied so far as wet field conditions are delaying fall operations.
The red spring wheat harvest is generally complete in the region. The average yield for hard red spring wheat is 55 to 70 bu/acre with about 25% of the crop grading #1, 55% grading #2, and 20% grading #3 or less.
Some canola remains unharvested with approximately 85 to 90% of the acres combined. Those acres remaining are where fields are too wet. Canola yields averaged 45 to 65 bu/acre. The quality of canola harvested is standard for the region with 90% #1 and 10% #2.
Field pea harvest operations are generally complete with the soybean and hemp harvest on-going. Field peas averaged 45 to 65 bu/acre and graded #2. Soybeans are averaging 40 to 50 bu/acre, with grades reported of 40% #2 and 60% grading #3. There are still a large percentage of beans out in the field and grain corn remains standing.
The 2016 growing season was a somewhat challenging year for producers in the Northwest Region. Lack of moisture in the spring led to uneven and slow crop emergence; variable maturity at harvest was a challenge in these fields. There were some localized hail storms that caused damage earlier in the season with those crops producing lower yields. The major, on-going challenge was precipitation. High rainfall amounts mid season resulted in drowned out areas in fields with significant yield losses, especially in canola. Fall rainfall also affected harvest progress with the grain that came off later in the season requiring drying. Some of the crop throughout the Northwest Region remains out in the field and fall operations have been a challenge.
There was some cutworm and flea beetle damage early in the season along with fusarium head blight in wheat and sclerotinia in canola. Producers were able to limit the impact of disease and insect pressure due to appropriate application of fungicides and insecticides to susceptible crops at the most beneficial stage.
Not much feed has been harvested over the last couple of weeks. Field conditions have been too wet from rain (or snow in some areas) combined with shorter and cloudy days. To date, little hay has been harvested in low lying areas (meadows and native hay) and it’s doubtful anymore will be completed.
Only 30 to 40% of corn silage has been harvested, with it being challenging as equipment becoming stuck. Custom operators have made equipment modifications such as installing floatation tires. Wetter fields may not be harvested until the ground freezes, provided significant snow does not fall by then. A few isolated areas affected by heavy rainfall will be short of feed and will need to source from neighboring areas. In other areas although, feed supplies are adequate to above average. Some producers may need to source supplemental higher quality feed as majority of the alfalfa grass forage is testing below average.

Central Region

Rainfall over the weekend across the Central Region amounted to 2 to 20 mm. There was harvest activity late last week until stopped by the weekend rain. Rains have caused on-going delays, but producers have made excellent progress on harvest, field work and fertilizer applications as conditions allow. Isolated areas in the southeast part of the region are very wet, limiting harvest progress, as well as fall field work. Frosts have had minimal impact on quality as crops were mature.
Early in the 2016 growing season, spring melt was early and runoff lower than normal for much of the region following a winter of lower than normal snow accumulations. A lengthy stretch of cold temperatures and rain in April delayed the anticipated early start to seeding. Spring growth was slow due to cooler temperatures; minimal pre-seed burnoff was done as producers focused on seeding. Pastures and hay fields were slow to recover due to cool temperatures and dry conditions.
Frosts in mid-May set back crops, and some re-seeding occurred. Dry conditions prevailed until late May, resulting in some producers seeding deeper than optimal to hit moisture. Uneven germination due to lack of precipitation was very common, resulting in challenges for staging herbicides, and later, fungicides. Blowing soils caused some crop injury and some re-seeding did result. Heavy rains caused significant crop damage in some areas; large accumulations were a problem in many fields through the growing season. A higher than normal number of hail events also occurred, resulting in crop damage and impacting yields. High winds also resulted in injury to crops.
Herbicide applications were challenging this year. Cool, dry conditions initially limited weed growth; and in many cases significant weed growth didn’t occur until after the optimal timing for herbicide application. Precipitation throughout the season, in some cases combined with more open crop canopies, resulted in weeds continuing to germinate for a much wider time frame than normal; right up until harvest, and in many cases, later.
Wet conditions at harvest presented challenges. Producers had to be innovative and flexible in their approach to get the crop off. Rains did result in some downgrading.
Harvest of winter and spring wheat started in August. Delays due to rains were frustrating, and fusarium head blight was a concern in the spring wheat crop.
Winter wheat yields ranged from 55 to 90 bu/acre, averaging in the 70 to 75 bu/acre range. Proteins were average to good. Quality was generally good, with average to low fusarium/FDK levels. Hybrid and fall rye had some excellent yields, ranging from 60 to 100 bu/acre. Ergot was reported in many fields. Few, if any reports of lodging in winter wheat and fall rye.
Spring wheat yields ranged from 45 to over 90 bu/acre, with most reporting 55 to 70 bu/acre average for their areas. Hard red spring varieties had the lowest yields and best quality; CNHR and CPS yields were higher but quality was lower with a higher percentage grading feed. Average yields were down from last year. Variability in quality was due to where and when the rains fell; excess moisture did cause downgrading at harvest. Fusarium head blight infection is a significant issue, and has resulted in downgrading due to DON levels. Barley yields ranged from 65 to 100 bu/acre, with the majority averaging 70 to 85 bu/acre. Quality is average to good.
Oats ranged from 70 to 180 bu/acre, averaging 110 to 140 bu/acre. Less of the crop was downgraded this year but there was variability. Downgrading that did occur was due to mildew where rain during harvest occurred. Majority of crop had good to excellent bushel weight. Crop was better than anticipated, and many producers commented the oats handled the excess precipitation better than wheat this year.
Canola yields were respectable, considering environmental conditions, with 2016 average yield for the region 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 mid-May frost and dry soil conditions in May having the biggest impact. Blackleg was noted in many fields. Sclerotinia was present in most fields, causing lodging, and shattering and yield loss at swathing and harvest. Yields were variable, ranging from 7 to 60 bu/acre, averaging around 35 to 45 bu/acre. Producers are fine tuning their swath timing; yield improvements are reported. Quality is excellent for the most part, with the crop grading #1. Minimal if any downgrading due to green count this year, although there were some reports of sprouts where swaths sat for extended periods. Flax quality is good; yields are average to excellent. Lentil acres were minimal; yield reported at 1300 lb/acre.
Pea acres were significantly higher than last year due to excellent yields in 2015. This year, pea yields ranged from 15 to 20 bu/acre, down significantly from last year a result of excess moisture. Quality was surprisingly good on peas harvested. Good colour, size and shape were also acceptable. Earth tag was minimal. Unfortunately, not all peas were harvested in this region; as much as 10% remains in the field.
Iron chlorosis was evident in edible and soybean fields. Both crops were shorter than average; soybeans podded higher than normal, resulting in fewer harvest losses. Edible bean harvest is complete. Yields are lower than last year, averaging 1500 lb/acre, with most ranging from 1000 to 2000 lb/acre, with highs of 2500 to 3000 lb/acre reported. Quality is good. White mould was reported but no significant yield or quality loss. Bacterial blight also noted.
Soybean harvest is close to complete. Yields vary from 15 to 65 bu/acre, averaging 40 to 45 bu/acre. Quality is good, with almost all crop receiving the top grade of #2. Higher yields were obtained in areas receiving timely rains; lower yields were a result of excess moisture. 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. No reported impact from soybean aphid.
Sunflower harvest continues. Yield reports to date range from 700 to 3100 lb/acre, with average expected to be in the 1500 to 2200 lb/acre range. Sclerotinia has had some impact with some lower test weights reported. Damage due to earlier wind events was reported. Bird damage has contributed to losses. Desiccation prior to harvest continues to increase, improving quality and yield with earlier harvest.
Grain corn harvest continues. Early yields range from 90 to 200 bu/acre, with average yields to date in the 130 to 150 bu/acre range. Final yields are expected to be slightly higher than last year. Moisture levels range from the low 20% to 35% and continue to decline. Many will wait for further dry down before harvest to limit the cost of drying. Corn silage is wrapping up; average yields of 12 to15 tons/acre.
Impact of disease in most crops is lower than expected. Root rots were evident in many crops. Sclerotinia was evident in all susceptible crops, generally at lower levels, but with impact to yield. Poor canola stands were not treated with fungicide. Blackleg lesions were evident in many canola fields. 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 an issue in spring wheat, but not in winter wheat.
Insect concerns were less than normal this season. Flea beetles caused some issues in canola; numbers were lower than in previous years. Isolated insecticide applications were made to headlands for grasshoppers. Isolated issues were seen with true armyworm and cutworm. Some high numbers of European corn borer were reported. Some wireworm problems were reported early in the season. Minimal diamondback moth larval feeding, and some lygus damage was seen. Minimal insecticide applications were necessary. High numbers of beneficial insects were seen in many fields.
Soil testing continues; wet field conditions are causing some problems. Results are variable, but there are many reports of very low soil test nitrogen and phosphorus. Fall cultivation continues, with excellent progress made in much of the region. Standing water in rutted fields is a concern. Post harvest weed control has wrapped up with recent frosts. Fall fertilizing has begun, but progress has been slower than normal, due to wet field conditions. Applications are being made whenever possible. Manure applications are also being 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 has been baled. Excellent choppers have improved the ease of returning straw to the soil.
Winter wheat seeded acres are flat to lower; there are fewer acres in some areas but increased in others. Acres seeded were limited due to rutted field conditions and rains. Germination and stand establishment is good to excellent this year, although there are some thinner stands due to excess rainfall. The crop ranges up to the four leaf stage.
Hay fields are in fair to good condition, with some impacted by excess moisture. There is a good supply of almost all classes of feed, including straw, for most of the region. Hay is being picked up from fields; there will be hay for sale. Quality of feed is good, with some issues due to struggles with putting up hay without rain. Second cut is better quality than first. In areas hardest hit by rains, producers will need to buy hay. Some producers were hoping to take a third cut, but were hampered by rain. Pastures remain in better condition than normal due to abundant moisture; very little supplemental feeding has been required to date. Fall corn grazing will be available soon, as grain corn harvest progresses. Grazing will be supplemented with hay as necessary.

Eastern Region

Over the weekend, showers and light rainfall occurred across most districts of the Eastern Region. Rainfall accumulations were generally 10 mm or less. Over the weekend, most areas also experienced a frost event with night time temperatures getting as low as -2 to -4oC. Harvesting and other field operations are expected to resume within 48 hours in areas where field conditions had allowed field access previously. Producers in northern and central districts of the Eastern Region were making acceptable progress on their field work including cultivation and fertilizer application but few were completely caught up. Only about 10% of field work has been completed in southern districts because of excessive and persistent rainfall limiting field access. For the whole of the Eastern Region, rainfall events over the last few weeks have caused repeated interruptions in harvesting and field work. It has been particularly challenging for those who were already struggling with field access prior to harvest. The soybean harvest in the Eastern Region is about 85% complete. Corn harvest is around 15% complete with sunflower harvest approximately 25% complete.
Winter wheat had an average yield of 75 bu/acre with the crop grading 65% #2 and 35% Feed. The acres seeded to winter wheat this fall has dropped by approximately 10% compared to the fall of 2015. Spring wheat had an average yield of 55 bu/acre with the crop grading 55% #1, 45% #2 and 5% Feed. While fusarium head blight was present, it was not considered a significant quality issue. Wheat crops that could not be harvested in a timely manner due to rainfall delays did suffer some quality loss as a result. Sprouting was an issue in these situations.
Canola had an average yield of 35 bu/acre with 100% of the crop grading #1. Soybeans had an average yield of 42 bu/acre with 100% of the crop grading #2. So far, corn has had an average yield of 120 bu/acre with 100% of crop grading #2. Sunflowers had an average yield of 1500 lbs/acre with grading still being determined. Quality problems are anticipated to be less than last year given that lower levels of head rot were noted.
For 2016, alfalfa hay had average yields of 2 tonnes/acre for first cut, 1.5 tonnes/acre for second cut and 1 tonne/acre for third cut. Brome/alfalfa hay had average yields of 1.75 tonnes/acre for first cut. Other tame hay had an average first cut yield of 1.5 tonnes/acre for first cut and 1 tonne/acre for second cut. Wild hay had an average first cut yield of 1 tonne/acre. Greenfeed had an average yield of 3 tonnes/acre. Currently, hay supplies are rated at 20% surplus and 80% adequate. Straw supplies are rated as 50% adequate and 50% inadequate while greenfeed and feed grain supplies are both rated as adequate. Overall, winter feed supplies in most areas are rated as acceptable but producers will have to supplement for energy and some for protein. While most producers have a surplus of hay, quality is down due to the wet weather conditions during the growing season.

Interlake Region

Poor harvesting conditions have delayed many producers from finishing harvest operations in the Interlake Region. However, producers are determined to take the crop off at tough moisture levels and with poor field conditions in order to finish. Cool, wet conditions have currently postponed harvesting of crops as 10 to 25 mm of rainfall occurred. There are still scattered acres of canola and spring cereal crops to be harvested. Majority of crops still to be harvested are soybeans, sunflowers, grain/silage corn and alfalfa seed fields. Tillage is on-going and in many areas second pass is occurring.
The 2016 growing year was challenging due to excess precipitation. Areas throughout the South Interlake experienced heavy rainfalls during late spring/early summer which reduced crop productivity and/or resulted in crop death were excessive moisture conditions continued. Towards midsummer, the North Interlake started to experience heavier rainfalls along with heavy winds and hail in areas.
Spring wheat had an average yield of 50 to 60 bu/acre with grading at 10% #1, 80% #2, and 10% #3. Winter wheat averaged 60 to 70 bu/acre with 90% grading #2 and 10% #3. Oats averaged 100 to 120 bu/acre with 80% #2 and 20% #3.
Canola average yields ranged from 35 to 45 bu/acre with 100% graded #1. Soybean harvest is nearing completion with about 20 to 25% acres left to go. To date, average yields range from 35 to 45 bu/acre, grading #2. Sunflowers harvest is still on-going with no reported yields to date. Grain corn harvest started last week with the first fields yielding 130 to 160 bu/acre at 25 to 30% moisture.
Winter wheat acres have decreased with more producers growing soybeans and higher yielding spring wheat varieties.
Several days of rains this past week has most fields near field capacity for moisture. Corn silage harvest is at a standstill because soils are too wet for equipment travel. Soil testing and fertilization of forages continues. Pasture growth is fair to good with shorter days and cooler temperatures; as a result some pastures are grazed off and cattle are being moved to hayfields.