Harvest in south of region looking pretty good

Harvest season continues to move along well in many areas of the south central region of Manitoba, thanks to more favourable weather this summer.

While producers in many other regions of the province have seen crops become a total loss because of flooding and bad weather, their counterparts in the Morden and Winkler region are faring much better.

"The quality of the crops seems to be pretty good. Yields are probably close to average or better," said Morden ag. rep. Brian Nedohin.

"Most of the people here in the valley have relatively good grain crops this year."

Estimates have the harvest of spring wheat, barley and canola continuing and coming in with variable yields depending on the local moisture conditions.

Spring wheat is coming in well with low fusarium levels and many yields ranging from 35 to 55 bushels/acre.

Barley yields are averaging up to 80 bushels/acre, while oats have been starting with early yields from 90 to 110 bushels/acre.

Canola that was swathed earlier this month was harvested with yields in the 30 to 40 bushels/acre range.

Nedohin added the outlook for corn crops has also improved, and soybeans are likely "going to be tremendous ... if we don't end up with bad weather yet."

There are isolated pockets here - such as the southwest corner of the Rural Municipality of Stanley - that have been harder hit with hail and other bad weather, he noted, but those are not as bad as others.

"There are a few spots that have been impacted by moisture," he said. "But when you get up north of Carman into the Elm Creek area, some of those guys there are in really bad shape."


Harvest may seem advanced this year, but Altona based MAFRI farm production advisor Brian Jack said this is more like a year should go.

"It seems like such an early year relatively speaking," he said. "We are ahead of last year."

Although farmers aren't exactly harvesting bumper crops, Jack said most are pleased with their yields.

"I would say good," Jack said to describe cereal harvests. "Given the environment they had, it was good."

That environment meant excess moisture through much of the season.

That has led to some issues such as white mold on edible beans, and fusarium in some wheat crops.

"Winter wheat had quite a bit of fusarium," he said, adding there was much less in the regular spring wheat.

What's needed now is some hot and dry weather. Jack said there is already enough moisture present to help fill out late season crops.


Kim Brown-Livingston said it's a mixed bag when it comes to how this year's harvest is progressing in the Carman-area.

The Carman-based MAFRI farm production advisor said considering the poor weather this spring and summer, harvest was doing well at the end of July and into early August. But the area was again hit by heavy rains starting around the second week of August.

"We were doing alright until the rains," Brown-Livingston said. "But the heavy rains have flattened out some crops. We've seen a lot of crops that are just down. The canola and barley in particular have many flat spots."

The MAFRI Manitoba Crop Weather Report said from August 9 to 15, the Carman-area received 50.2 millimeters of rain which is more than twice the average of 20.8. The Elm Creek-area was hit by 73 mm which is more than triple its average of 21.8.

Meanwhile Starbuck has been hardest hit with rainfall accumulations of 121.4 mm which is six times its normal amount of 21.5.

However, Brown-Livingston noted that rain hasn't necessarily been widespread.

"It's been hit and miss with the rain in some areas like the Starbuck-area that has been hit hard again by the rains," she said.

The added moisture is expected to hamper and slow harvest.

"It's going to make harvesting more of an issue," Brown-Livingston said. "But there are some crops like soybeans, corn and sunflowers that are doing well considering the weather we've had this year.

"We've just got to keep our fingers crossed that the rain stays away."

She noted that the yields have been varied as well from field-to-field.

"It's still early for (really accurate) harvesting results but right now they're all over the board," Brown-Livingston said. "There are spots on fields that are actually doing very well but the poor spots (flattened and/or soaked by rain) are horrible."

Some early wheat has been coming in averaging about 40 to 50 bushels an acre as compared to "50 to 60 in a good year".

Brown-Livingston said that winter wheat is currently about 10 bushels under the average of 60 to 70.

Fall rye is between 50 to 70 bushels, also down about 10.

Initial canola numbers have been poor at between 20 to 30 bushels which is down from its average of 40 to 50 and well below last year's 60 bushel mark.

- with files from Lorne Stelmach, Greg Vandermeulen and Gene Still