Man. soybeans surviving recent unfavourable weather

CNS Canada –– Many areas of Manitoba have seen unfavourable cool, wet conditions recently, with frost reported in some areas — but the province’s soybean crops seem to be holding up OK.

Frost seen on Sept. 12 and 13 caused some damage to soybean crops in the province, but it was mostly minimal, said Dennis Lange, a farm production advisor with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Altona.

“Generally, most of the province is seeing some top leaf damage; just the top leaves are getting frozen off,” Lange said. “The lower cavity seems to look OK for the time being.”

About 70 per cent of the Manitoba soybean crop is in the Red River Valley. Most fields in that area are at the R7 growth stage, one stage away from full maturity, making it less vulnerable to frost going forward. The rest of the crop is in the R5 to R6 stage, making it a bit more susceptible.

There isn’t any frost in the forecast for most parts of Manitoba for the rest of the week, which will help crops reach further maturity without seeing any yield loss.

As long as crops avoid a killing frost before reaching full maturity, yields should be decent as R8-stage soybeans are safe from being damaged by frost, Lange noted.

Even if there is a killing frost in September, it may not mean a huge loss in production.

Lange said there was a killing frost on Sept. 14, 2011, when there were still some soybeans that were a little bit green. But yields weren’t terrible, with the provincial average that year around 27 bushels an acre, according to Statistics Canada data.

StatsCan estimated an average yield of 32.1 bushels an acre for 2014/15 Manitoba soybeans in its August production report. Manitoba farmers planted 1.25 million acres of soybeans this spring.

Harvest began on some of the earliest-seeded soybeans on Sept. 12, with more activity expected to pick up by the end of the week, according to Lange.

Some farmers may not begin harvesting until near the end of the month, however, with activities expected to continue well into October, he added.

— Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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