Crops appear to have survived June deluge

Many growers and crop advisers assumed the worst after 150 to 200 millimetres of rain fell in late June on western Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan.

Most people thought the grain and oilseed crops would never recover from the deluge and that yields would drop significantly. In the end, the canola, soybean and cereal plants were hardier than predicted.

“I think guys are a little bit surprised by the yields,” said Lionel Kaskiw, a Manitoba Agriculture crop production adviser in Souris, Man.

“It did a lot better than we were thinking.”

Kaskiw said growers in the region are reporting spring wheat yields of 30 to 50 bushels per acre and canola yields of 15 to 45 bu. per acre.

The yields are respectable, considering that many crops in southwestern Manitoba had to tolerate soaked soil or standing water for a couple of weeks in early July.

Kaskiw said there are drowned-out patches that produced no grain this year, which means total production will take a hit.

“I think we’re looking at average crops for the land that produced grain,” he said.

“If you take in all the acres that would have been insurable, then we’re going to be a little below average.”

Sherri Roberts, a regional crops specialist for Saskatchewan’s agriculture ministry in Weyburn, said yields in southeastern Saskatchewan are better than expected, depending on location.

“I’ve got some guys, they’re more than happy. They’re smiling…. Their yields are up,” she said.

Growers are reporting canola yields of 30 to 40 bu. per acre, he added.

“One gentleman … south of Oxbow, he said he had some fields running better than last year, on his canola yields.”

On the other hand, a number of growers are reporting extremely poor yields.

“A gentleman I was out to see, he’s running at 10 bu. per acre with his wheat,” she said.

“He knows of guys who said they’re going to burn their fields instead of spending money harvesting them.”

Fusarium significantly damaged cereal crops in southeastern Saskatchewan, cutting yields and crop quality, she said.

Roberts said the hit and miss nature of summer storms likely explains the variability in yield and crop quality.

Kaskiw said fields in southwestern Manitoba remain wet, and growers are taking precautions to avoid trouble.

“All of our sloughs are right full of water,” he said.

“You still have to watch where you go with the machines. A lot of producers aren’t taking trucks on the fields. A lot of it is being done with grain carts.”

Roberts said a frost in the second week of September shouldn’t compromise soybean production in the region.

“They were at their maturity level so they could handle a fairly hard frost,” she said.

“I don’t think, in the fields that I have scouted, there’s going to be too much of yield loss.”

Kaskiw said the situation is similar in southwestern Manitoba. Frost did hit some soybean fields, but overall the crop looks good.

“There are three seeds per pod and (it’s) podded right to the top of the plant,” he said.

“I would think we’re going to be in that average range.”

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