Sask., Man. winter wheat harvests underway

Winter wheat and fall rye harvests are underway in much of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, according to those provinces’ weekly crop reports filed Monday.

Saskatchewan’s agriculture ministry reports fall rye and winter wheat are six per cent harvested, with pea crops seven per cent harvested and one per cent of lentils off. The winter wheat and fall rye harvests are well underway in much of Manitoba’s southern grain-growing area, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives said.

Provincewide, one per cent of Saskatchewan’s crops have been combined and three per cent is swathed or ready to straight-combine. That’s behind the five-year (2003-07) average of four per cent combined and eight per cent swathed or ready for straight-combining for this period in the year.

Saskatchewan’s harvest operations are the most advanced in the southwest, where almost three per cent of the crop is in the bin, followed by the southeast, with one per cent combined, the province said.

But the province’s southwest, as well as its west-central region, also reports the highest percentage of very short moisture conditions. Heat and drought stress and insects were the main sources of crop damage during the past seven days, the province said Monday.

The southwest also saw some severe storms on Sunday (Aug. 10), the impact of which will be assessed in next week’s report, the province said. Overall, topsoil moisture conditions on Saskatchewan crop, hay and pasture land declined from last week and are reported as adequate on 54 to 62 per cent of the area.

Manitoba’s southwest region reports winter wheat and pea harvests underway south of the Trans-Canada Highway. The southwest, more generally, got variable rainfall between eight and 15 mm, improving pastures except in the far southwest corner, which got little of the rain and where some pastures are now overgrazed.

Further north, toward Dauphin and Swan River, soil moisture ranges from adequate to excessive, spurring disease and moisture stress in cereals and hindering haying around Ste. Rose, about 45 km east of Dauphin.

Rain over the weekend ranging from 10 mm to as much as two inches capped off a week of dry conditions and warmer temperatures in Manitoba’s south-central region, including the Red River Valley. Winter cereals and spring barley are being harvested, with barley yields from 75 to 90 bushels per acre. Some oats and canola have been swathed.

East of the Red, rainfall is needed in central and southern areas to help boost soybean, corn and hay crops. Spraying is underway for lygus bugs in sunflower and counts are reported above economic thresholds in canola, especially later-seeded crops.

In the Interlake region, between Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba, up to 40 per cent of tame hay fields remain too wet to take a first cut. The winter wheat harvest started in the south Interlake and in eastern Manitoba last week. Fusarium levels generally appear to be below one per cent, although some crops in the Interlake that were seeded into cereal stubble are showing “much higher” levels.

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