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Regrowth Complicating Manitoba Canola Harvest

Manitoba fieldwork is continuing to advance although recent moisture is complicating the canola harvest.

According to the latest weekly crop on Tuesday, canola regrowth has become a harvest issue in a number of fields. With the improvement in soil moisture, dormant, vegetative canola has now begun bolting and flowering in many ‘ripe’ canola fields, making for uneven harvest conditions. The effects are most noticeable in the worst drought-hit areas, the report said.

After severe drought throughout most of the summer, soil moisture has rapidly improved in nearly all areas of Manitoba, with the top 30 cm of soil showing conditions as optimal to wet, based on field capacity. These trends are reflected at depths, where subsoil moisture has also improved slightly, the report added.

The overall Manitoba harvest is now estimated at about half complete, up from 35% a week earlier. The harvest is most advanced in the Eastern Region at 66% done, followed by the Central at 63% and the Interlake at 54%. The Southwest and Northwest bring up the rear at 42% and 40% complete, respectively.

Substantial rains have meant that hay and pastureland has now greened up, and livestock producers are intensively managing regrowth areas to support fall grazing, the report said.

Southwest:

Some unsettled weather continued to slow harvest; producers picked up crops whenever the weather allowed. Rainfall amounts were variable; the northern areas had zero to 10 mm, while southern areas received up to 18 mm. Precipitation is welcome for pasture and hay regrowth, and possibly some later-maturing corn and corn silage. Rains have been welcome for seeding of winter wheat and hybrid fall rye, as well as for tillage operations.

Southwest harvest is estimated at as much as 40 to 45% complete. Yields are highly variable, but much is coming in at average to below average. Many report better than expected yields, considering the year. All crops have been stagey; some fields have been left standing for long periods to allow green areas to mature, even following desiccation and pre-harvest treatments. Cereal harvest has progressed well to 65 to 70% complete. Barley yields at 55 to 80 bu/acre. Spring wheat is yielding 40 to 55 bu/acre. Oats are coming in the 65 to 90 bu/ac range. Good quality and weight reported in most of the harvested cereals. Protein levels are average, to above average in lower-yielding fields. Cereal straw is being dropped; baling is right behind the combine and bales are being removed from fields within a short period.

Canola has quite a range, from 20% to 25% complete; several producers are waiting to finish up. Strong winds have blown canola swaths around, making combining a challenge. Early canola yields reported in the 25 to 30 bu/acre. Swathing in later seeded and reseeded canola has started. There are some reports of pods shattering in standing canola due to heavy winds and rain showers.

Northwest:

While a mid-week storm brought precipitation to the Roblin and Swan Valley districts, the rest of the region was able to move forward with harvest progress. Accumulated precipitation was highest in the west and northwest side of the Swan Valley and ranged from 51 to 100 mm. While recent precipitation has helped surface moisture conditions in some areas, subsurface soils remain very dry and water sources continue to be depleted.

Field pea harvest is 99% completed across the region with the odd field still standing. Spring cereal harvest progress moves closer to completion; 40 to 45% harvested in The Pas with average yields of 60 to 75 bu/ac; 65% harvested in the Swan Valley with yields ranging from 40 to 70 bu/ac; 85 to 90% harvested in Roblin and Dauphin areas. Some sprouting concern has been noticed with recent precipitation. Desiccation of canola continues as stages are reached. Canola harvest is underway in the region with the exception of The Pas. Approximately 10 to 15% harvested in the Swan Valley and Roblin area. Yields so far are reflective of the varying conditions of the canola crop and range from 15 to 20 bu/ac in poorer stand and 35 to 45 bu/ac in better stands.

Soybeans continue to ripen, moving from R6 to R7 in the northern part of the region while the southern part of the region is more advanced. Fababeans and Flax remain standing and continue to ripen.

Central:

Mostly sunny and near average temperatures this week with a shower system moving across the region bringing rain on Thursday but clear on the weekend allowing for good progress made on harvest of remaining cereals and oilseeds. Soils are moist to saturated in areas with highest rainfall. Forecast this week is for sunny, warm and dry conditions, which should allow for good progress on harvest operations.

Winter cereal planting is progressing on suitable harvested fields. Wheat, oats and barley harvest is considered mostly complete with good progress accomplished on the remaining wheat acres west of the escarpment with over 95% done overall. Some sprouting reported on later wheat harvested due to the recent rainier conditions. Most available cereal straw has been baled and removed from fields. Little to no crop residue burning to date. Most harvested fields have been harrowed, field tillage is picking up pace with the improved topsoil moisture. Volunteer grain growth is abundant.

Canola harvest progressed well, with many fields swathed while others are left to stand for direct harvest. Some swathed fields have been disturbed by strong wind conditions increasing harvest losses. Harvest progress is estimated at 40 to 50% with reported yields ranging from 15 to 50 bushels per acre. Harvested grain quality is very good so far. Canola regrowth is a concern in some fields with some fields starting to flower again. Termination of those fields may require swathing or desiccation to harvest the grain.

Flax fields are ripe with harvest started and earliest yield reports in the 15 to 25 bu/acre. Harvest progress is estimated at 35 to 45 % complete. Some flax fields are being treated with harvest management products to terminate growth of greening spots as well as some weed growth.

Eastern:

Small, localized rainfall occurred several days this past week. Temperatures ranged from seasonal to below seasonal over most of the reporting period with above season daytime temperatures occurring over the weekend. Although there were harvest stoppages because of precipitation, overall rapid progress was made on harvesting, manure application, fieldwork and the seeding of winter cereals.

Spring wheat harvest continued this past week with an estimated 95% of acres harvested. The remaining grain being harvested suffering quality degradation to varying degrees. Yield reports range from 45 to 70 bu/ac with reports indicated good quality and bushel weights. Wheat proteins ranging from 10.5 to just over 14%. Producers reporting that many buyers have implemented protein discounts. Oats yields have been disappointing overall, yield reports ranged from 50 to 100 bu/ac with 70 bu/ac averages with lighter bushel weights. Oats harvest progress estimated at 95% complete. Bushel weights range from 37-40lb/bu; overall oats quality is below average for the year.

Canola yield reports range from 10 to 40 bu/ac, averaging 20 to 25 bu/acre. Canola harvest proceeded rapidly the previous week, with about 60% of the crop in the bin and the rest ready to go as weather allows. Overall, canola is yielding better than expected although expectations were low.

Interlake:

Scattered rains over the region this past week brought amounts up to 47 mm northwest of the Shoal Lakes, with less falling southeast towards Winnipeg. Soils remain dry to very dry at Inwood, Moosehorn, and Fisherton, but have been replenished to an optimal level, based on field capacity in the top 30 cm. Deeper in the soil profile, the eastern Interlake adjacent to Lake Winnipeg remains dry to very dry, to depths to 120 cm. Rainfall has replenished surface soils, causing drought-stressed crops to break out of dormancy and regrow in cereal and canola fields, leading to harvest problems.

Canola regrowth is thicker than the original crop in many cases, and some growers are choosing to swath, other to desiccate and harvest what they can, while others are opting to sell or bale as greenfeed or silage canola crops that have been written off.

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