Man. harvest needs warm, dry weather

After months of dry weather, it’s now too wet and cool in parts of Manitoba.

For instance, more than 85 millimetres of rain fell on Minnedosa between Aug. 23 and Sept. 2, hindering harvest in southwestern Manitoba.

What’s really needed in the southwestern part of the province is a week of warm, dry weather so that crops like corn, soybeans and canola can reach maturity and be harvested, said Lionel Kaskiw, Manitoba Agriculture’s crop production adviser in Souris, Man.

“The window is narrowing down on us…. There are a fair (amount) of crops that are fairly late (and) are needing time before we get a fall frost,” said Kaskiw, who spoke on a Manitoba Agriculture Crop Talk webinar today.

“It would be good to get a bit of a heat wave through here. That would help bring in some of those crops.”

Manitoba Agriculture data shows that harvest progress across the province is well behind normal. Only 19 percent of Manitoba’s canola had been combined. The three year average for canola in early September is 53 percent harvested.

Canola is late this year because dry soils and cool weather delayed crop emergence this spring. In addition, a portion of the crop was re-seeded in early June because flea beetles and frost hammered the canola seeded in May.

Canola and other crops are also behind normal development because growing degree days are below normal in most regions of Manitoba.

“The percent of normal is anywhere from the high 80s to the 90s,” Kaskiw said. “That’s why some of these crops are … not maturing as quick as they should be.”

In western Manitoba, crops like soybeans need a couple of more weeks to reach maturity.

Even if the weather does co-operate, yields will likely be average because rain didn’t arrive in early August, when soybeans need moisture for pod fill.

“I’m seeing a lot of (soybean) seed pods with twos and threes in them,” Kaskiw said, adding three and four seeds are preferable. During the webinar, Kaskiw showed a photo of a soybean field in western Manitoba.

“The top pods are basically not filling and not going to contribute to bushels at harvest time…. The crop was a little bit too dry and rains came too late.”

As for canola, Kaskiw expects an average crop in southwestern Manitoba. Canola got off to a slow start in the spring. Then, hot weather in late July and early August, at flowering time, cut into yield potential.

“The crop, in general, looks to be average. I don’t think we’re going to see the yields that we’ve seen in the last couple of years.”

Last year Manitoba recorded an average canola yield of 44 bushels per acre. Reports from other parts of the province suggest the average yield will be closer to 40 bu. this year.

On the positive side, wheat yields have been strong in southwestern Manitoba. Many producers are reporting yields of 60 to 80 bu. per acre.

Sunflowers also performed well this year. The crop is looking good, despite the dry conditions this summer.

“Boy, are you seeing some nice sized (sunflower) heads,” Kaskiw said. “The plants were able to scavenge for the moisture … and continued growing through the dry (weather).”

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

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