Rains leave swampy, fallow fields in Manitoba, Saskatchewan -scouts

Spring wheat and canola fields in western Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan are dotted by cattails and swamps, while others are unplanted or abandoned, evidence of heavy spring rains that reduced Canada’s potential crop output, scouts on a crop tour said on Tuesday.

Other spring wheat and canola fields are growing but are less mature than usual for late July, leaving them at risk of death by frost in early September before they ripen, the scouts said.

Some spring wheat crops have not yet formed heads, while canola is flowering at a time when they are usually forming seed pods.

“This isn’t good,” said Chris Birk, farm service coordinator for CWB, a grain marketer which is leading the tour. “There’s a lot of unseeded or drowned-out areas.”

In a spring wheat field near Griswold, Manitoba, ducks paddled around a stand of cattails that sprung up this spring from excess rain. Further west around Pipestone, a durum crop was growing too thin and with too much disease to likely warrant harvesting.

The inaugural Cereals North America Canadian crop tour started Monday and ends Thursday, spanning the western provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Reuters is traveling a route through southwestern Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan. The area normally accounts for one-third of Western Canada’s spring wheat area and 40 percent of its canola acres.

On Monday, spring wheat in southern Manitoba had an expected harvest yield of 40 bushels per acre, well below last year’s 58 bushels and lower than the region’s recent average of 42 bushels, said Bruce Burnett, CWB weather and crop specialist.

Spring wheat levels in southern Alberta also looked lower than last year’s level. The crop had potential to yield 49 bushels per acre, down from 59.5 bushels a year ago, but similar to the long term average of 48.5 bushels.

Northwestern Saskatchewan was the bright spot, with spring wheat yield potential around 47 bushels per acre, down slightly from last year’s 49.8 bushels and ahead of the region’s long-term average of 42.5 bushels.

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