Manitoba corn crop flourishing amid hot weather

Manitoba’s corn crop has been flourishing amid recent hot weather — so much so, that most of the crops are now at the average stage of development, despite being planted later than normal.

“Everything is looking really, really good at this point,” said Morgan Cott, field agronomist with the Manitoba Corn Growers Association. “It’s grown a lot over the last couple of weeks so everybody is really happy at this point, in most areas.”

Though most regions have flourished over the last couple of weeks, Cott noted there are some areas that are a little bit behind in development.

“There are a few areas that are behind because they’ve just been receiving lots of rains week after week. But that’s normal, everywhere in Manitoba will have that,” she said.

Disease and insect concerns are minimal at this point, and should remain that way for the next couple of weeks, said Cott.

There have been some reports of bertha armyworms causing some problems, which are typical insects for corn crops. She’s also advising farmers to start scouting for European corn boar eggs.

Manitoba’s corn crop is ideally looking for continued hot weather throughout the next couple of weeks, with temperatures starting to cool down near the end of July.

“Usually around tasseling and silking you want it to cool down for pollination,” said Cott. “But, last year we had it pretty hot and it turned out okay.”

So far, it looks like the harvest will be on track to start at the average time as well, though things will be clearer once the crops are tasseling and silking.

“It’s easier to say once the plants are silking and tasseling because then you can gauge from that point how long it’s going to be until harvest,” said Cott. “Everything is on track right now, so it should be a pretty normal mid-October start.”

Manitoba producers planted 365,000 acres of corn this spring, according to the latest Statistics Canada data, up from 300,000 acres planted in 2012. Strong corn prices, due to the drought that affected the U.S. crop last year, were behind much of the acreage increase.

Corn prices are now falling back down closer to normal price levels, but they’re still “pretty good”, and farmers should be pleased, Cott said.

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

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