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Hot August a boon for soybeans and corn

By Richard Kamchen

The hot temperatures that arrived later in August offset a cool July and helped advance Manitoba’s soybean and corn crops.

“I think they’ve done well given the season that we’ve had,” says Manitoba Pulse Growers Association’s production specialist Kristen Podolsky about soybeans. “We weren’t sure there for a bit with the cold spell, but August really warmed up and pushed them ahead.”

She says heat-loving soybeans were stymied in July, when daytime highs were below average for a few weeks and nighttime temperatures dipped below 10 C. The crop, however, isn’t out of the woods yet and progress is lagging in the western part of the province.

“We’re definitely hoping the frost doesn’t come till October,” Podolsky says, adding that would be asking a lot. “Western Manitoba, the middle of September would be normal. End of September isn’t asking too much for central Manitoba. But we need the late frost out west.”

Soybean yields could end up variable, depending on the conditions experienced during important stages of crop development in different parts of the province.

“Some yields are looking really great, where they had rains in early August,” Podolsky says. “[But] some areas have been dry for a month now, so we may not have as high a yield in those areas.”

Statistics Canada’s most recent forecast calls for record soybean production in Manitoba of 928,000 tonnes, a result of anticipated record harvested area of 1.0 million acres. The agency, however, predicts average yields to decline 4.6 per cent from last year to 33.3 bushels per acre.

Corn also loves the heat and basked in the August sun too.

“Overall, corn did quite well this growing season,” says Morgan Cott, field agronomist with Manitoba Corn Growers Association, pointing to a lack of weather events that overly stressed the crop and idyllic mid- to late-August weather. “That brought us back to normal maturity for this time of year, because after the cooler weather in late July, early August, the crop had sort of hit a brick wall and wasn’t moving ahead.”

Manitoba corn production is also set to reach a record, with StatCan estimating a 919,500 tonne output, the result of an expected harvested area of 340,000 acres -– also a record.

“We are doing well considering where we thought we would be,” Cott says. “Come September, however, I, being a bit of a realist, wouldn’t expect a bumper crop. I think corn growers will be satisfied with their 2013 yields.”

Source: FCC

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