By Top Crop Manager
Harvest season is fast-approaching in the Prairies, but the three provinces are all in vastly different situations. Detailed reports are below.
Manitoba’s harvest progress is currently mirroring its seeding progress earlier this summer. As of Aug. 30, Manitoba harvest is significantly behind previously established standard. Additionally lodged crops have disrupted smooth harvest operations in peas and some cereals so far. Harvest is currently at three per cent, behind the five-year average of 39 per cent. The late seeding contributed to this late start to harvest, as well as high humidity and precipitation. Fall rye has the highest rate of harvest completion, at an average of 80 per cent across the province, followed by winter wheat at 69 per cent. Higher levels of ergot have been reported in fall rye, while some winter wheat grain samples from eastern regions report higher levels of fusarium. Spring wheat harvest, currently at two per cent complete, is expected to become widespread later this week as crops dry, and canola harvest could be widespread later this week depending on weather.
Despite the late start to harvesting, crop conditions look good to very good in most parts of the province, and field pea harvest made good progress this past week, while the bulk of the crop has been desiccated. Yield averages are close to 60 bushels per acre. Severe aphid pressure has been reported in sunflower fields near Wawanesa and Winnipeg, but crops appear to be withstanding the stress given adequate soil moisture. | READ MORE
The week ending Aug. 22 represented significant progress due to the hot, dry weather. Harvest progress sits at 16 per cent, up from five per cent last week and on par with Saskatchewan’s five-year average. An additional 12 per cent of the crop is now swathed or ready to straight-cut. Despite hot, dry weather in most regions, particularly western regions, some areas in the east-central region received heavy rainfall, which slowed down the maturation of crops or halted producers who were ready to harvest early seeded crops. For specific crops, winter wheat leads the charge with 63 per cent harvested, followed by lentils at 52 per cent.
Harvest progress is most advanced in the southwest region, where 45 per cent of crops are in the bin. The west-central region follows at 19 per cent progress. Regions with later starts are those which have experienced wetter conditions. Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as one per cent surplus, 56 per cent adequate, 26 per cent short and 17 per cent very short. Pasture conditions are rated as 43 per cent good or excellent, 44 per cent fair or poor and 13 per cent very poor. This represents an improvement over last year due to more frequent rains, particularly in the east half of the province. The majority of crop damage was due to wind, heavy rainfall and hail. Grasshoppers continue to cause large amounts of crop loss, and producers report worry about their population next year. | READ MORE
As of July, Alberta’s crop reports are now released every other week. For the two-week period ended Aug. 23, Alberta’s crop report contains mixed results. While the province is posting above-average yield expectations and growing conditions, soil moisture is rapidly decreasing, and has throughout the month of August.
Currently 88 per cent of all crops across the province are still standing, compared to a five-year average of 86 per cent. Four per cent of crops are in the swath (close to the five per cent five-year average) and eight per cent combined. Despite the south region completing seeding much earlier than normal this spring, combining is not starting with that same relatively early timeframe. While still very early, canola is only four per cent in the swath compared to a 10-year average of 14 per cent for this time in the season.
Growing conditions and dry land yield expectations both tell an optimistic story for harvest results. A yield index of 112 is expected across the province compared to the five-year average benchmark. Spring cereal and pulse yield expectations are all well above long-term averages. Oilseeds are also expected to yield above long-term normal, but by a smaller margin. The Peace region has the highest yield index expectation of the province relative to regional long-term averages. The Northwest is the only region with yield expectations below the 10-year average, at a 97 yield index.
Sixty-nine per cent of all crops are rated as good or excellent growing conditions across the province. This is still ahead of five and 10-year averages (55 and 63 per cent respectively), but has deteriorated from 75 per cent just over one month ago on July 12. Potatoes, sugar beets and dry beans have a much higher percentage of the crop rated as poor relative to their respective normals, whereas spring cereals are now heavier weighted as excellent rating relative to normal. | READ MORE