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Southern Manitoba farmers welcome warm weather for harvesting

Southern Manitoba farmers welcome warm weather for harvesting

No frost and mostly sunny skies in the forecast for the next two weeks

After some recent chilly nights and frosty mornings, farmers in Southern Manitoba can look forward to some favourable weather on the horizon as the forecast is calling for mostly sunny skies and warmer temps through the next 14 days. With most crops reaching maturity, the warmer temps could help speed up the last stages of crop development, with many in the industry hoping the blast of warmer days and nights will help bring the crops to full-maturity and aid a little in the drying process.

“When it gets that cold, it takes a while for everything to warm up,” said agricultural expert Harry Siemens. “It basically shuts down the maturity of the crop when it gets cold, so we haven’t seen a lot of progress.”

The recent cold spell and frost had slowed down harvesting progress, but the start of harvest season was relatively mild, allowing farmers to pull off around 60% of the 2020 crop as of last weekend.

“Canola is about 50 per cent done, then we have to wait for soybeans. So we’ve still got a good amount of cash crop coming off in the province. The 40, 50 per cent that’s left will need lots of sunshine — so this week will be just awesome.” Siemens told Global News.

But the temperature isn’t the only issue on some farmers’ minds this fall – they are also dealing with other curve balls thrown by nature, including grasshopper damage and a smoky haze hovering high above due to the massive wildfires burning up the west coast of the U.S (see photo above).

For St. Andrew-area farmer Curtis McRae, grasshoppers have been a problem this year “My issue right now is the crops that were damaged by grasshoppers, that has delayed them and those are the crops I’m waiting for,” McRae said. “With the frost last week, I don’t really know [the extent of the damage] until I get out there in the combine, which will be at least two weeks from now.”

Soybeans should be ready within the next couple of weeks, and Wawanesa-area farmer Simon Ellis isn’t exactly sure what to expect “I’m very curious to see what the soybeans do. We had good soybean growing conditions, but we had a quite early frost that may have damaged them. Once we get into them, we’ll see the quality and whether or not we had much damage because of that frost.”

It will be interesting to see the yields for the Manitoba crop this year.  Neighbouring Ontario soybean producers could be on their way to a record crop.  Growers are projected to produce an average soybean yield of 53.2 bushels per acre, according the Great Ontario Yield Tour (https://riskmanagement.farms.com/events/ontario-yield-tour-2020).  

Photo Credit:  Jon Rosland

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