UPDATED: Southern Manitoba canola “wiped out” by weekend frost, reseeding needed

By Robert Arnason, Brandon bureau

UPDATED – June 1, 2015 – 1330 CST – Justin Jenner is holding out hope, but he will probably have to re-seed nearly 1,000 acres of canola.

Jenner, who runs a 4,500 acre grain and cattle operation near Minnedosa, Man., said a hard frost acutely damaged his canola fields.

Jenner plans to make a decision on re-seeding soon, but he wasn’t feeling optimistic.

“It’s looking like most of the (fields) will have to be re-seeded,” said Jenner, a Keystone Agricultural Producers vice-president.

“We had a couple of fields that got flea beetles real bad. The frost kind of finished them off…. Between those two pressures, we’re going to have to reseed those (fields).”

The late May frost hit a wide geography of Manitoba early May 30.

Elmer Kaskiw, Manitoba Agriculture crop production adviser in Minnedosa, said it dropped to -1 C at midnight and remained below zero for most of the night.

“We got down to -3 C and -4 C was fairly general,” he said. “In the valleys it was in the -5 to -7 C range.”

Kaskiw said the frost was unusual because it was a black frost.

Typically, dew forms when temperatures creep toward zero. But there was little or no moisture around.

“We’ve never had this type of black frost…. Saturday morning by nine or 10 o’clock, the plants were turning black…. The dry, black frost, it really smoked the canola quite badly.”

As of June 1, many canola fields in the region around Minnedosa had turned brown.

“What we’re seeing this morning, the top of the plants are browned right off. There’s not much for a growing point,” Kaskiw said.

Early reports suggest the frost hit areas west of Winnipeg, around Elm Creek and Elie. Fields north and west of Brandon, were also affected.

Kaskiw said it’s difficult to estimate the number of affected acres, but there was frost across a large chunk of western Manitoba.

“Anything north of Brandon, between Minnedosa and Neepawa and then right through to the Saskatchewan border and up to Roblin and Swan River,” Kaskiw said.

“Basically the Yellowhead route and Number One (highway) north.”

Angela Brackenreed, Canola Council of Canada agronomist, told Reuters that the damage was worst in Western Manitoba, noting many fields will require re-seeding.

While Jenner is waiting to make his decision, many of his neighbours are moving ahead with re-seeding. Farmers around Minnedosa were hauling canola seed Sunday or were in the field with seeding equipment.

Jenner said Manitoba crop insurance pays 25 percent of a producer’s coverage for frost damage, which will help offset some of the re-seeding cost.

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He said there should be a sufficient amount of canola seed around.

“The retailers I talked to on Saturday seemed confident they could get enough seed.”

Kaskiw said farmers who seeded canola after May 20 should hold off before re-seeding. Plants that were just poking out of the ground may have survived the black frost.

“Those are fields I’m telling guys, you know what, if we get some of this rain that is forecast… those fields should improve.”

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

-30-

By Commodity News Service Canada, Terryn Shiells

UPDATED – June 1, 2015 – 0930 CST – Winnipeg, June 1 – Many canola crops in Southern Manitoba were badly damaged by frost seen early Saturday morning, causing farmers to reseed their fields, according to a local farmer.

“There’s quite a bit of canola that has been damaged, and some guys are reseeding. Some guys are still assessing though,” said Anastasia Kubinec, oilseed specialist with Manitoba Agriculture.

“We are recommending that they maybe wait another day before deciding to reseed.”

ICE Futures canola futures were trading up more than three percent higher on Monday morning compared to the close Friday.

Pictures of crop damage taken on May 30 and 31, 2015 along Highway 10 and Highway 24 near Rapid City, MB. | Agritruth Research Inc. photo

Pictures of crop damage taken on May 30 and 31, 2015 along Highway 10 and Highway 24 near Rapid City, MB. | Agritruth Research Inc. photo

Some of the hardest hit regions were Fannystelle, Elie and Elm Creek, southwest of Winnipeg, according to Ed Rempel, president of the Manitoba Canola Growers Association.

WeatherFarm data shows the temperature hit two degrees Celsius below at 5:00 a.m. on May 30 in Fannystelle. Areas around Elm Creek and Elie fell to minus one around the same time. In Brandon, temperatures dropped to three degrees below early Saturday morning.

Bill Craddock, whose farm is located in Fannystelle, said many of the fields in the region were “wiped out” by the frost.

“From Starbuck east we have been more fortunate, but west of Starbuck has been less fortunate,” Rempel added.

Pictures of crop damage taken on May 30 and 31, 2015 along Highway 10 and Highway 24 near Rapid City, MB. | Agritruth Research Inc. photo

Pictures of crop damage taken on May 30 and 31, 2015 along Highway 10 and Highway 24 near Rapid City, MB. | Agritruth Research Inc. photo

Many farmers have already started reseeding their fields, and there should be enough seed supplies to go around in the country, it just may take time to get it delivered.

“Every half ton I saw yesterday had canola seed in the back of it,” said Kubinec. “Monsanto and Bayer, their reps are running around with canola seed, so is Canterra, and Brett Young Seeds was taking seed orders this morning.”

While having to seed canola fields again will eat up some of the farmers’ time, it won’t be much of an additional cost, she added.

“Some of the companies, if they’re reseeding back to the same variety, they are giving them a heavy discount on the seed, and they will get a reseed benefit from MASC (Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation crop insurance).”

The frost damage problem is widespread, and is more extensive than recent reports suggest, according to Rempel. But, because it’s still early enough in the growing season, and a good crop is still possible if weather cooperates for the rest of the spring and summer.

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“The canola that is being seeded now should pop out of the ground very quickly, and typically there’s enough moisture in Manitoba to get that done,” he added.

“If we don’t have a really hot flowering period at end of June, beginning of July, we’ll be just fine.”

Pictures of crop damage taken on May 30 and 31, 2015 along Highway 10 and Highway 24 near Rapid City, MB. | Agritruth Research Inc. photo

Pictures of crop damage taken on May 30 and 31, 2015 along Highway 10 and Highway 24 near Rapid City, MB. | Agritruth Research Inc. photo

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  • Ashley

    Everyone seems to have forgotten 2004 when the August frost wiped a lot of acres out. Even though we live in Manitoba the growing seasons change from region to region. Farmers around Elie could re-seed their canola in the middle of June and will combine it before the farmers who live south of Riding Mountain National Park if they planted their canola May 30th.

  • ed

    This was a relatively late frost but in general there should definitely be reduced insurance rates and increased premiums for seeding too early as it raises premiums for those who do it the right way. There are seeding deadline dates and for good reason. Not that seeding beyond those dates has no chance of working, but a vastly lower chance of being successful numerically speaking which is how insurance companies gauge risk. If a farmer has enough equipment to technically seed in 8-10 days it should be no problem.