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20 per cent loss in a “good” crop?

Crops seeded in the fall of 2021 such as fall rye and winter had an advantage in this cold wet spring and early summer of 2022.

Harvest began last week for fall seeded crops. On a drive throughout southwest Manitoba, crops look fantastic, but there’s more to the story.

Farming some 15 kms northwest of Virden, Brett and Anesha Heaman were straight cutting fall rye on Aug. 12. Brett’s father Ken Heaman, one of the truckers, was available to comment.

He said that although the stand of fall rye appears tall and thick, this crop is actually producing a normal yield of about 70 bu. per acre. However, the overall yield will be down as there are acres within the field that they aren’t combining.

Ken explains, “The crops will be okay, but 20 per cent will be gone… drowned out. Anytime we have a wet year, 20 per cent is gone. Every [water] runway ran all summer.”

The fall seeded crop handled the moisture. He said, “We had a huge problem with moisture this spring, but the rye was already seeded last fall. It could use the (spring) moisture.”

As summer progressed, the heat came along with continued rains, enabling the growing crop to flourish, although humidity can bring its own difficulties with crop diseases like ergot.

However, Heaman’s rye was grading No. 1. The straw left in the windrows is copious and much of that will be baled for a cattle farmer who had good results bedding with rye last year.

It’s a fine sight to see the Manitoba harvest begin with combines gobbling up the grain.