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Winter wheat harvest varies by province

MarketsFarm — Depending where a farmer is located, Canada’s winter wheat crop has varied this year.

Ontario has long been the country’s powerhouse for winter wheat. Statistics Canada projected the province’s farmers to seed just over one million acres this year, nearly 75 per cent of Canada’s total winter wheat acres.

However, Marty Vermey, senior agronomist with Grain Farmers of Ontario, said the province’s farmers lost up to a third of their crop because of weather conditions since the fall.

Vermey said yields ranged quite widely, from as little as 18 bushels per acre up to 120, averaging 40-80. Almost the entire Ontario crop has been harvested, with some fields in northern Ontario remaining, he said.

“There were some success stories, and some real failures,” Vermey said.

A cool, wet fall not only delayed planting, but also led to poor development when combined with the wet spring Ontario had this year.

“We had a very wet March and April and that killed off [a lot] of the crop,” Vermey said.

Despite those challenges, the quality of Ontario’s winter wheat was surprising. It showed good weight and was affected very little by diseases such as fusarium, he noted.

Prairies

Elmer Kaskiw of Ducks Unlimited Canada estimated two-thirds of Manitoba’s winter wheat has been harvested. He said nearly all farmers in eastern Manitoba had finished their combining, while most of the remaining harvest was in western Manitoba.

“Yields are a little bit lower than anticipated, given the yield expectations of winter wheat,” which were 65 to 70 bushels per acre Kaskiw stated.

Protein levels were particularly good at 11.5 to 13.5 per cent, he added.

“There’s no trouble marketing it,” Kaskiw said.

In Saskatchewan, very little winter wheat has come off the field, said Brad White, a director with the Saskatchewan Winter Cereals Development Commission. He said rain delays have forced farmers to keep their combines off the fields.

During the growing season, the most notable issue was crops retillered after heading-out, which affected about half the winter wheat, according to White.

Despite this year’s problems, there are good amounts of reserve moisture in the ground, he said.

Earlier this year StatsCan estimated about 1.35 million acres of winter wheat would be seeded this year, down from 1.4 million in 2018. The largest amount of seeded acres was 2.82 million in 2008.

— Glen Hallick writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

Table: Estimated winter wheat seeded acres, 2019 over 2018 (thousands)

Province.   . 2018.     . 2019
Ont. 970.0 1,003.5
Sask. 170.0 110.0
Alta. 95.0 100.0
Que. 50.7 45.5
Man. 70.0 45.4
B.C. 16.0 17.0
P.E.I. 13.0 13.8
N.B. 4.0 5.7
N.S. 7.0 5.0
N.L. 0.100 0.2

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