More Unplanted Manitoba Acres than Expected 

Unplanted acres in Manitoba this year will be greater than originally expected. 

Tuesday’s weekly provincial crop report said there were over 880,000 acres left unseeded as of the June 20 seeding deadline, most of them in the northwestern Interlake, along Lake Manitoba, in the Austin-Gladstone-Portage la Prairie area, and adjacent to the Red River. Last week’s report estimated that only about 250,000 acres might go unseeded. 

“Saturated soils have stopped seeding progress once again, and those farmers yet to finish planting are coming to the realization that there will be unseeded acres on their farms this year,” the report said. 

A final push this past week brought seeding across the province to around 91% complete, the report said, although more heavy precipitation sparked by extreme heat fell over the weekend and on Monday. The heavy rains caused overland flooding, damaging crops and local road networks. Hail fell in a swath from Roblin to the Swan Valley, damaging crops there, while other areas had to contend with standing water that drowned previously established crops. 

Spring cereal seeding is nearly complete in all regions, and earliest seeded crops are now at the 4 to 5-leaf stage and tillering well. Later seeded cereals have emerged, although emergence varies by local area and soil conditions. 

Emerged canola staging ranges from cotyledon to 6-leaf, with some fields starting to cabbage over, while others are stress-bolting due to excessive moisture earlier than anticipated. Flooded and crusted over canola fields from last week have either recovered with light rains or have been reseeded, with an estimated 15% of canola acres in the Central region being replanted.  

Field pea stands are looking good across most of Manitoba, despite strong thunderstorms, driving winds and hail damaging crops in the Swan River Valley, but peas are expected to recover with minimal yield impact, unless sitting in areas with pooled standing water. 


Severe weather systems brought strong winds and heavy rains to the region, generally towards the northwest corner, washing out roads in the RMs of Oakview and Souris-Glenwood, with approximately 215 mm in the past 24 hours. Thunderstorms brought upwards of 100 mm rain in the RM of Prairie View near Binscarth, Foxwarren, and Angusville. Other districts received less rain further south. Crops are suffering from excessive moisture, with standing water in many fields. Seeding progress for the region is 90% complete, with a rapid push early last week to plant remaining acres that were not still waterlogged. Crop establishment has generally been good, and recently seeded crops have emerged and grown rapidly. Excessive rains are now stressing the crop and preventing pesticide application for weeds and flea beetles. Most prevalent weeds include biennial wormwood, green and yellow foxtail, wild oats, kochia, red root pigweed, and lamb’s quarters.  


Extreme heat over the weekend brought severe thunderstorms, leading to heavy rains up to 100 mm within 15 minutes near Benito, causing flash flooding of fields, ditches and over roads. Some washouts occurred and while crops did stand up to the flooding, it appears topsoil was removed. Extreme winds knocked over trees and bins, and hail ranging in size from the size of a dime to nearly golf-ball diameter shredded several crops and pastures in a swath 9 miles wide to approximately 30 miles long. The Pas, Swan Valley and Roblin are mostly complete at approximately 99% seeded; Dauphin/Grandview are approximately 85% complete; while Ste. Rose is approximately 95% complete. Ethelbert/Pine River and Laurier/McCreary are much delayed due to previous heavy rain and frequent rains continuing, and sit 40-50% complete. Regional seeding completion is 89% done. Soil moisture is adequate to surplus in cropped and pasture fields in the region, recent rains have led to water pooling in low areas once again. 


Warm, relatively drier weather compared to other regions boosted Central Region seeding completion close to 94% done. Heavy rains again washed out and flooded the flat land along Pine Creek, and that area remains the furthest being in the region, at approximately 70% seeded, prior to any new reseed issues. Much of the rest of the region has relatively even crops that are now filling in low spots or wheel tracks, with the notable exception of severely damaged canola fields, where the crop has been struggling to grow past intense flea beetle feeding despite numerous control efforts. A significant number of fields will remain unseeded in the Austin-Gladstone-Portage la Prairie districts, where successive rains have saturated fields and rendered seeding impossible, with the exception of a few more broadcast canola acres. Signs of nutrient deficiencies are becoming more noticeable in fields with lower organic matter, coarse-textured (sandy) soils where excessive moisture has leached soil-mobile nutrients deeper into the soil profile, away from small plant roots.  


Rainfall accumulations last week across the region ranged from 5 to 35 mm, with average rainfall amounts around 20 mm for the region. The majority of the rain fell on Tuesday, June 14th. Crop and weed growth were greatly accelerated because of the past week’s weather conditions. Part of this rapid growth was due to warm seasonal air temperatures that climbed up to way above seasonal towards the weekend. Seeding is virtually complete, at 97% done, with reseed acres finished, and acres left unseeded will likely remain that way. In northern parts of the region, dairy and beef cattle farms began haying, with initial quality reported as good. Too few acres have been cut to estimate yields. Progress is expected to ramp up quickly if weather is suitable.  


Rains have put a final stop to seeding efforts in parts of the Interlake region, notably along both sides of Lake Manitoba, and into the Fisher Branch/Fisherton area towards Arborg. Limited progress was made last week on seeding in the region, given the continually wet soils. Spotty emergence is the norm in the region. Some farmers raced last week to seed canola prior to crop insurance seeding deadlines, which have passed for all annual crops as of yesterday, June 20. Some growers are sourcing alternative crop or forage seed with their retailers, looking at late (uninsurable) barley for grain or greenfeed, and planting millet or sorghum as a cattle feed and to soak up moisture and cover ground. 

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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