Long weekend brings on longer harvest in Manitoba
Highlights from the latest crop reports from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
By Top Crop Manager
Snow, and lots of it, blanketed regions of Manitoba over the Thanksgiving long weekend and impacted the province’s harvest progress.
While Manitoba is only 10 per cent behind its three-year average for harvest progress, all the latest provincial crop reports reveal that being behind is the new normal. Alberta’s harvest progress is currently 17 per cent behind its five-year average and Saskatchewan’s harvest progress is 10 per cent behind.
Earlier in October, it seemed that Alberta’s harvest was being hit the hardest but some windows of opportunity have helped the province progress.
Manitoba took over the headlines when some regions reported as much as 50 to 65 cm of snow had accumulated in the fields. As if the snow wasn’t enough to deal with, many regions also reported power outages which affected aeration and drying operations for stored grain. As of Oct. 22, 2019 only 50 percent of the RM of Grahamdale has power, with 90 per cent power in the remaining hard hit municipalities of the Interlake region. The melting snow brought its own set of issues when ditches, creeks and rivers temporarily swelled to capacity because of runoff. The runoff also made the fields too wet to run equipment. Some producers have opted to wait it out instead of rutting the field for the sake of progress.
- Wet weather along with below normal temperatures have been the dominant pattern in Alberta over the past couple of weeks.
- During the Thanksgiving long weekend, large areas in the North East and North West Regions received between 10 to 15 mm of precipitation in the form of either rain or rain and snow mix. For the Southern, Central and Peace Regions, precipitation was mainly light, but variable, with some areas accumulating three to five mm.
- The moisture has halted harvesting operations in most parts of the province.
- Provincially, about 59 per cent of major crops across the province have now been harvested, up 14 per cent from the previous update.
- Estimates suggest that about 21 per cent of major crops are in swath and 20 per cent remain standing. When compared to the five-year averages
(2014-2018), provincial harvest progress is 17 per cent behind.
- Regionally, harvest progress is behind in all regions, led by the Central Region (26 per cent behind), followed by the Peace (25 per cent behind), North East (16 per cent behind) and Southern and North West Regions (8 per cent behind).
- Nearly nine per cent of spring wheat, 12 per cent of barley, 17 per cent of oats and 41 per cent of canola have been swathed. Also, 28 per cent of spring
wheat, 18 per cent of barley, 33 per cent of oats, 17 per cent of canola and five per cent of dry peas remain standing.
A full regional breakdown is available in Alberta’s latest crop report.
- Many producers were able to continue with harvest operations last week as 83 per cent of the crop is now in the bin. This is up from 69 per cent last week but remains behind the five-year (2014-2018) average of 93 per cent for this time of year.
- Many areas received very little precipitation which meant more time in the field for producers. Warm, dry and windy days are needed for producers to keep making harvest progress.
- Significant harvest progress was made in many regions this past week, with the northeastern region being the most advanced with 94 per cent of the crop now combined.
- The west-central region has 93 per cent combined, the northwest region 89 per cent, the southwest region 88 per cent, the southeast region 78 per cent and the east-central region 66 per cent.
- Ninety-three per cent of barley, 89 per cent of mustard, 84 per cent of spring wheat, 83 per cent of durum, 82 per cent of chickpeas, 79 per cent of canola, 77 per cent of canary seed, 45 per cent of flax and 37 per cent of soybeans are now in the bin. An additional 17 per cent of canola is swathed or is ready to straight-cut.
- Across the province, topsoil moisture conditions on cropland are rated as 18 per cent surplus, 76 per cent adequate, five per cent short and one per cent very short.
- Some fields remain saturated with excess water, particularly in southern and east-central regions.
- The majority of crop damage this past week was due to lodging, strong winds, and frost.
- There continues to be many reports of significant downgrading at the elevator due to crops sprouting.
- The majority of the crop coming off is tough or damp and is being placed into aeration bins and grain dryers.
A full regional breakdown is available in Saskatchewan’s latest crop report.
- Snowmelt has resulted in ditches and waterways full of melt water, causing overland flooding in parts of the Central and Eastern regions.
- Soybean and corn crops are standing better than expected from the heavy snowfall, with the exception of the Westlake and Western Interlake areas.
- Overall estimated harvest progress is 77 per cent complete, below the three-year average of 88 per cent for the third week October.
- Harvest progress for sprint wheat is 95 per cent complete, barley 99 per cent, oat 97 per cent, canola 82 per cent, flax 58 per cent, soybean 41 per cent, and dry bean 56 per cent. Corn for grain harvest is 5 per cent completed and corn silage is 50 per cent completed.
- Some areas in the province, like Central, Interlake, and Northwest regions, were hit with snow over the Thanksgiving long weekend. As much as 50 to 65 cm of snow was being reported in the fields.
- Power outages across the region affected the ability of producers to run aeration fans for stored grain, but the grain has progressively recovered.
- As the snow melts in some areas, spring-like runoff conditions are being experienced with ditches, creeks and rivers temporarily swelled to capacity.
- Wet and covered fields have made a significant impact on harvest progress, as machinery isn’t able to get out into the fields until the ground hardens up.
A full regional breakdown is available in Manitoba’s latest crop report.