Favourable conditions boost Manitoba winter cereals

A rye cover crop. (Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

CNS Canada –– Favourable weather throughout spring and winter has allowed Manitoba’s winter cereals to flourish, according to the head of an industry group.

“People are bragging about their fall rye,” said Jake Davidson, executive director at Winter Cereals Manitoba. “Wheat is also excellent.”

A relatively warm spring with few cold snaps and a mild winter across Manitoba and Saskatchewan helped crop development, he said, and crops are well ahead of last year’s pace.

“This is the kind of year where farmers drive down the roads and see winter wheat and say ‘I wish I had some of that,'” he said.

Recent rains have left crops “bright and green,” he said, though some areas in Manitoba have reported hail.

But that hail hasn’t had much of an impact on winter wheat, compared with freshly emerging crops.

Fall rye brings Manitoba producers about $5.59 per bushel, while winter wheat fetches about $5.17 per bushel, according to Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp. (MASC).

Winter wheat demand has been relatively strong over the past year, Davidson said, in part because the market doesn’t produce huge quantities.

“Rye in itself is an interesting product because you’ve got to kind of dig to find your marketing channel,” he said.

Rye is mostly moved by smaller brokers, but it often goes to the U.S. for milling.

“There’s not that much that goes to Gimli to make booze, so it is a little tricky to move,” Davidson said, referring to the Diageo distillery where Crown Royal rye whisky is made.

Harvest will likely start about mid-August, he said.

Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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