Recent rain unlikely to hurt soybeans

Production outlook | With crops nearing maturity, late August rain in Manitoba shouldn’t hurt producers, says adviser

Seventy-five millimetres of rain in late August is rarely ideal, but it’s better now than in the middle of September, says a Manitoba crop adviser.


Depending on the region and severity of the thunderstorm, 50 to 100 mm of rain fell on much of Manitoba between August 17 and 24.


The moisture soaked crops and soil resulted in standing water on many fields. Elmer Kaskiw, a Manitoba Agriculture farm production adviser in Minnedosa, said rain at this time is preferable to rain in two weeks.


“At this point in time our crop is still in the last stages of maturity,” he said.


“Most of the crop is just getting to the point where it’s ready to be harvested, so we’re not losing any quality at this point.”


Seventy-five mm of rain in September is much more problematic, he added. 


“We can often get a September where guys have just started harvest and it starts to rain. Then, we don’t start harvest again until after the Thanksgiving long weekend. At that stage of the game we’ve typically lost a lot of quality.”


Many Manitoba producers, particularly in the eastern half of the province, were hoping for rain in mid-August because crops were desperate for moisture.


The precipitation should benefit soybean crops that needed a drink, depending on the maturity of the beans.


“I don’t think it’s going to hurt it. It could help with bean size and pod filling to some extent,” said Rob Brunel, who farms near Ste. Rose du Lac, Man. 


“It (the rain) might be a tad late, but I don’t think we were extremely short of moisture. We were probably just on the edge.”


Dennis Lange, a Manitoba Agriculture soybean expert in Altona, said the rain might have arrived too late for beans in southern Manitoba.


“In this area, here in Altona, we’re approaching that R6 growth stage,” said Lange, who provided a definition of the R6 stage. “If you look at the top four nodes of the main stem … you have at least one pod that has full seed.”


He said soybeans are less advanced in other parts of the province, and beans in the R4 and R5 growth stages should benefit from the rain.


“It’s very important in that R4 stage to get some moisture to help with seed filling and seed set.”


Lange said Manitoba’s soybean crop looks decent, but it’s difficult to predict yield given the dry conditions up till now.


Brunel, who has seeded beans on 50 percent of his total acres, is satisfied with his crop.


“I’m quite pleased at where we are, development wise,” he said. 


“We might be a little late but I don’t have a lot of concerns.”


Kaskiw said soybeans and other crops in the Minnedosa region look decent to above average, but rain and wind did knock over many plants.


“Producers are maybe disappointed in the lodging that’s happening right now, in a lot of the crop,” he said.


“I’m hoping we’re going to see a bounce back in the crop. It’s really the first time we’ve had any really significant lodging this growing season…. We typically see a fair bit of bounce back, although this crop is a bit more mature and the heads are quite a bit heavier.”


However, he said the rain could also boost yields.


“The silver lining is that crops are filling to their max potential,” he said.


“We’re seeing canola fill right to the top, we’re seeing cereal crops fill…. These all point to a pretty good yield potential if we can get a return to drier, warmer conditions.”

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