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Wet spring leads to slight bump in oat acres

Manitoba Agriculture says early planted spring wheat, oat, and barley fields are now emerging to two-leaf stage. Moist soils promoted rapid germination and even emergence.

"We're finally starting to see some green fields from spring seeded crops," said cereal specialist Anne Kirk. "Some of those crops planted 10 days or so ago are emerging or at the two leaf stage. The soil has been moist and it's been fairly warm out. We have been seeing some rapid germination and even emergence across fields."

Winter cereal crops have begun to joint and have canopy row closure, with a few crops showing signs of nitrogen deficiency.

Drier conditions in the middle of last week saw farmers in the Central, Interlake and Eastern regions finish the majority of corn acres, and a good portion of soybeans, then prioritizing finishing planting spring wheat and oats.

The Southwest and Northwest regions saw thundershowers mid-week slow planting progress, and some crops in all regions have been ‘mucked in’ if field conditions were less than ideal.

Farmers are growing slightly more oats than previous years, preferring the crop over barley being more tolerant to wet soils. A few growers in the Southwest region have reported growing oats for the first time, and seed supplies remain very tight across the province due to high demand and higher seed cleanout last fall.

Volunteer canola is widespread on many fields, and moving into the two-leaf stage. Other spring annual weeds have been rapidly growing, leading to many dirty-looking fields. Herbicide control will be needed shortly, and farmers are using light tillage to disturb many emerging weeds while drying out soil surfaces to support seeding operations.

Farmers are switching out of remaining unplanted corn in favour of canola, and silage corn growers are considering planting more green feed cereal crops as a replacement. Expect a 10 to 40% reduction in grain corn acres in all regions from intended fields switched out to another crop.

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