Canola crops in southern Manitoba are growing at a wider range of stages than usual, with many behind their normal development stage, scouts touring the fertile western Prairies found on Monday.
Some canola was just beginning to flower, while other crops were in full bloom, canola’s critical development period. Other fields of canola in south-central Manitoba looked healthy and were forming pods, as they normally do in late July.
“Canola is more variable than I thought,” said Chris Birk, farm service coordinator at grain marketer CWB, which is leading the crop tour. “In a normal year, it would be done blooming by now.”
Scouts on the Manitoba tour expected to tour an area further west that was heavily damaged by rain later in the afternoon.
The inaugural Cereals North America Canadian crop tour from Monday to Thursday will span the western crop producing provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta on three separate routes.
Reuters is travelling 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 morning, the tour travelled south of Winnipeg to almost the North Dakota border, before turning west to Winkler.
Spring wheat yields looked normal, Birk said, with elevated spots in fields looking to produce high yields that may compensate for lower areas that were drowned out. Several winter wheat fields were re-seeded along the edges with spring wheat, likely due to winterkill.
The Manitoba tour saw only one field that looked completely unplanted, surrounded mainly by big, even crops of canola, spring wheat, corn and soybeans.
The challenging conditions come one year after nearly ideal weather resulted in Canadian farmers smashing records for all wheat and canola production.
Canada is the world’s third-largest wheat exporter after the European Union and United States, as well as the biggest exporter of canola and durum.