Rain improves Sask. crops, soaks Manitoba

Crops in Saskatchewan and parts of southwestern Manitoba sorely needed last week’s rain, but most of the rest of Manitoba is soggy and could now use warmer, sunnier weather.

Topsoil moisture on Saskatchewan cropland last week stood at 76 per cent adequate, up from 48 per cent the week before, the provincial ag ministry said in its crop report Monday.

With that boost, spring cereals are reported to be 73 per cent in good to excellent condition, as were 72 per cent of fall cereals, 55 per cent of oilseeds and 67 per cent of pulses. Hay and pasture rose from 37 to 66 per cent adequate. Hayland and pasture rated as “very short” on moisture dropped to four per cent last week from 13 per cent the previous week.

First-cut hay was 43 per cent baled or in silage last week, compared to 25 per cent the week previous, although rainfall slowed haying. No second cuts have been reported to date, the province said.

Hail and strong winds were the main sources of crop damage in Saskatchewan last week, the province reported.

Manitoba

The majority of spring cereals are heading in most parts of Manitoba and range from shot blade to heading in the Interlake region between Lakes Manitoba and Winnipeg, which has seen “excessive” rain, according to Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ crop report Monday. Similarly, canola is mostly mostly flowering in most regions and ranging from bolting to full bloom in the Interlake.

In Manitoba’s southwest corner, which saw some severe storms complete with tornadoes and hail last week, “crops are again showing signs of drought stress and further rain this week will be important,” the province wrote. Further north, the south Parkland region saw “significant hail” causing between 10 and 50 per cent damage in individual fields.

Thunderstorms and heavy rains also soaked the northwest region (Dauphin, Swan River) and showers dropped 25 to 40 mm in most of the south-central region (Portage la Prairie, Carberry). Crops in the central region were “generally handling” the rains but could use warmer temperatures, the province wrote.

More than a week of warm, sunny, seasonal conditions is needed in the province’s southeast region, east of the Red River, where farmers are nearly done applying fungicides to cereals and canola, working in between showers and thunderstorms. Most of the region saw soil moisture conditions rated “full.”

The Interlake, meanwhile, saw excessive rain ranging from 26 to 100 mm, with the Broad Valley area, west of Arborg, and the Gypsumville area at the north end of Lake Manitoba being particularly hard hit. A number of fields have standing water, meaning fungicides, where needed, will be applied by spray planes and haying will be difficult to impossible without “strong drying conditions.”

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