Rains help Sask. crops, soak eastern Man.

Rainfall so far in July has left up to three quarters of Saskatchewan’s crops in good to excellent condition but much of the eastern half of farming Manitoba remains wet or excessively soaked.

Both provinces’ agriculture departments, in their Monday crop reports, said crops generally are behind normal development for this time of year.

However, Saskatchewan reports wheat at 70 per cent good or excellent, barley 73 per cent, canola 65 per cent, oats 74 per cent and peas 75 per cent. Topsoil moisture is reported adequate on 80 per cent of Saskatchewan cropland and 70 per cent of hay and pasture land.

About a third of Saskatchewan’s first cut of hay has been baled or ensiled, with haying delayed by wet weather that dampened the 30 per cent of the first cut still lying in swaths. About three quarters of those reporting last week said they don’t expect a second cut in their area.

Meanwhile, the far southwest corner of Manitoba expects to lose yield to drought stress even if rain falls over the next week. Elsewhere in Manitoba’s southwest, warmer temperatures are needed for crop development to improve. Further northwest, toward Dauphin and Swan River, there’s an “urgent need for haying weather,” with growing degree days for corn in the North Parkland region about 20 per cent below normal, the province reported.

In Manitoba’s south central region, crop growth has “noticeably improved” but is still behind in some areas due to damp soils and cool weather. Soybean rows haven’t yet closed in many fields, which may help reduce sclerotinia risk, while corn and sunflower crops are growing rapidly but could also use some more warm weather. East of the Red River, meanwhile, “warm nighttime temperatures and warm but not excessively hot daytime temperatures will be needed to speed up soybean, sunflower and corn development.” Soil moisture is generally good in that area except for standing water in some fields.

In the Interlake region between Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, soil moisture is rated “excessive to good” and with the exception of pasture grasses, it should be enough for crops for the rest of the season, the province said. Haying has “all but stopped” due to wet conditions and many hay crops are deteriorating further in the swath with each new rain. Northern areas of the Interlake such as Gypsumville, Broad Valley and Riverton have seen “substantial” crop losses due to excess rain.

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