By Top Crop Manager
Prairie crop producers have endured several challenges this growing season due to a number of poor conditions, from excess moisture and standing water in Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan to extreme dry conditions in Alberta. However, much progress was made in terms of seeding in the east, while many crops have begun to emerge in the west.
Wet conditions have plagued Manitoba’s growers as far as seeding is concerned, but slightly more favourable conditions and long work hours by the province’s farm businesses led to a considerable jump in seeding. Provincial seeding for the week ending June 14 sits at 87 per cent. While the five-year average for comparable weeks is 99 per cent, this is still a jump of 65 percentage points from the previous week. Many farms are now nearing completion, with a large percentage of those farms completing their seeding from Friday to Sunday of last week in order to get ahead of Monday night’s rain. parts of the Interlake and eastern side of the northwest region remain unplanted. Some farmers yet to finish planting are, according to the report, “coming to the realization that there will be unseeded acres on their farm this year.” Estimates are that more than 250,000 acres will be unplanted by the June 20 seeding deadline, concentrated near Lake Dauphin, the northern Interlake, and adjacent to the Red River, where fields have only recently seen standing water drain away. Additionally, some reseeding of canola has occurred after crusting events and severe flea beetle damage.
With more farmers shifting their focus to in-crop management, herbicide application has become more widespread. Calm conditions last week saw many spring cereal and corn fields see their first herbicide application, as well as numerous applications of insecticide for flea beetles, cutworms and young grasshoppers in localized areas.
Although many growers have prevailed and seeded their acres, the issues caused by the rain have not stopped at seeding. Repeated rains and warm soils have led to widespread nitrogen fertilizer losses, either via leaching or denitrification. In-crop nitrogen-deficiency symptoms are showing up as chlorotic (yellowed0 leaf margins, in combination with other symptoms of crop stress due to saturated soils. Nitrogen prices have dropped approximately 0.3 per cent from spring highs, which the report says might encourage in-crop top-dressing.
Livestock have been turned out to pasture, and forage growth is generally sufficient. Biting insects and mosquitoes are becoming a nuisance for cattle. | READ MORE
Saskatchewan producers have seeded 91 per cent of their crop as of the week ending June 6, up from 76 per cent last week and slightly behind the five-year average of 97 per cent. However, progress remains highly variable across regions, as it has been in previous weeks. The eastern part of the province has experienced similar moisture and standing water issues to the province’s neighbours in Manitoba. In the west, things are dryer; southwest and west central regions are virtually complete with 99 per cent of their crop seeded, although some fields in those regions are being reseeded due to poor emergence and heavy insect damage. Northwest reports 97 per cent completion. The northeast is 92 per cent complete, southeast is 86 per cent and east central is the furthest behind at 77 per cent.
The province experienced relief from recent heavy precipitation with a relatively dry week, although the southwest received some rain showers that were, according to the report, “greatly appreciated.” The Consul area received the most rain with 58 mm, the Maple Creek area 20 mm and the Shaunavon and Admiral areas 16 mm. The report still describes the west central and southwest regions as “desperately” needing rain, with producers reporting anxiety about their crops’ likelihood of survival.
Cropland topsoil moisture is rated as six per cent surplus, 56 per cent adequate, 24 per cent short and 14 per cent very short. Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as three per cent surplus, 57 per cent adequate, 27 per cent short and 13 per cent very short.
In terms of crop progress, 45 pr cent of fall cereal crops are reportedly in the jointing stage and 19 per cent are in the short blade stage, while just under half of spring cereals are emerging and 20 per cent are tillering. Canola is 38 per cent emerged, with 15 per cent in the seedling stage. Nine per cent of flax is in the seedling stage. Just under half (49 per cent) of pulse crops are emerging, and 29 per cent are in the vegetative stage.
Insects and winds have caused some damage to crops this week. |READ MORE
Unlike its neighbours to the east, Alberta has not struggled with excess moisture slowing seeding. However, last week’s report indicated that the province’s dry conditions were posing potential problems for emergence. Seeding for the week ending June 7 is 98.9 per cent, slightly ahead of both the five- and 10-year average. The last push toward completion was driven in part by the Peace region, where farmers drastically increased their seeding rates – up to 94 per cent complete and nearly at its 10-year average of 96 per cent (up from only 36 per cent two weeks ago).
Now, some welcome precipitation during the week means that emergence is likely to accelerate in some regions. Rain in the south and central regions was both significant and timely; both of those regions report seeding as nearly complete, and received between 20 and 50 mm of rain over seven days. For a large area of the south region, roughly 50 per cent of all precipitation this growing season fell in the last week. While more precipitation will still be necessary throughout the season, the report says this precipitation will be good for early season growth.
In terms of surface soil ratings, under half of areas (47.6 per cent) are rated as “good” and 11.5 per cent are rated as “excellent.” The Peace region has the highest rate of “good” and “excellent” surface moisture, while the central and northwest are the only other regions to total more than 50 per cent “good “or “excellent.” Meanwhile, the south and northeast regions have more than 50 per cent combined “poor” or “fair” conditions.
For emergence, 82 per cent of crops have emerged in the south region, which the report says is slower than the same respective average of 90 per cent. Some reseeding due to flea beetles is reported. Leading the pack for emergence is the central region, with 94 per cent of major crops emerging. There are some reports of canola reseeding due to frost. In the northeast, emergence is moderately ahead of it’s five-year average, sitting at 89 per cent. Some crop reporters reference flea beetle damage to canola. At 76 per cent emergence, the northwest region is moderately ahead of its five year average, but notes delays on emergence of oats and canola. The Peace region’s slow seeding has resulted in only 30 per cent emergence of major crops, behind its five-year average of 68 per cent. |READ MORE