Hopes for good crop remain, even though Manitoba farmers replant 900,000 acres
Manitoba farmers will likely reseed more than 900,000 acres of canola this spring, but previous reseeding events show that solid yields are still possible, says the provincial oilseed specialist.
On May 30 a hard, dry frost hit hundreds of farms across Manitoba.
David Van Deynze, manager of claim services for Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp., the provincial crop insurer, said they’ve received 2,825 reseed claims as of June 8.
Manitoba farmers filed most of those claims in the first week of June.
“We’ve got about 1,900 of those since the frost (May 30),” Van Deynze said.
Looking at all claims this year, which includes previous frost damage on the May long weekend, MASC has had 975,000 acres of reseeding claims this spring.
“Ninety percent or higher is canola acres, from the data we have,” said Van Deynze, who added that reseeding claims in 2015 will be “very significant.”
“This is shaping up to being one of our bigger reseed years, for sure.”
Roberta Galbraith, who farms near Minnedosa, Man., had to reseed all of her canola acres last week.
“I don’t recall one (a frost) as long and hard as this,” she said. “We had rows of green crop that were up. On Saturday (May 30) morning at 5:30 it was –7 C down in valley and –3 C at the top of the valley. That canola was smoked.”
Dozens of farmers, across a wide geographic area in Manitoba, have similar stories of what’s referred to as “smoked” canola because it turns plants black.
Van Deynze said most reseeding claims are from western Manitoba, but many also come from the southern region.
“If you take Manitoba it’s almost an L shape, down the west side and (across) the south side,” he said.
“Lake Manitoba kind of buffered things a bit (near the lake)…. And east of the Red River, not a lot of issues there either.”
A number of reports last week suggested there was a canola seed shortage in Manitoba, as producers struggled to find replacement seed.
Simon Ellis, who farms near Wawanesa, Man., and operates a seed dealership, Ellis Seeds, had to reseed a large portion of his canola.
“It was basically all the canola acres we seeded before May 15, which happened to be the majority of our canola acres.”
Ellis said Manitoba dealers did have canola seed on hand, but certain products were in short supply.
“There seemed to be more Roundup Ready canola available, compared to Liberty, or InVigor.”
Elmer Kaskiw, Manitoba Agriculture crop production adviser in Minnedosa, said farmers could get seed if they weren’t picky.
“If you weren’t concerned about having the exact same variety you put in the first go around, then I think it was pretty easy getting seed.”
Anastasia Kubinec, Manitoba Agriculture oilseed specialist, said growers who lost flax in the May 30 frost had more troubles than canola producers.
In fact, many reseeded a crop other than flax because no flaxseed was available.
“The certified flax grown in Western Canada has been reduced over the past few years. We were tight on supply going into the spring,” she said. “Even the commercial flax, there was good price (this spring) so a lot of guys sold their commercial flax.”
Kubinec said a few growers have inquired about reseeding with camelina, a short season oilseed, but she doesn’t know if they followed through with those plans.
A spring frost and extensive reseeding is unusual for Manitoba but not unprecedented.
Kubinec said a June 6 frost in 2009 damaged fragile canola in many Manitoba fields.
She said farmers were able to reseed and the crop turned out fine.
“The canola looked terrible going into the middle of June, but it flowered… for about six weeks and it branched out and had piles of secondary branches,” Kubinec said. “And we had an absolutely beautiful crop.”
However, the weather in 2009 was ideal for canola, as it was a long and cool growing season.
Kaskiw said the majority of canola growers in Western Manitoba, north of the Trans-Canada highway, have completed their reseeding.
But rains that hit southern and eastern Manitoba, over the weekend, missed much of Western Manitoba.
“We really, really could use a rain right now… to get things going,” he said.