Harvest - hot and early

No need for grain dryers this year. Farmers agree that crops are ripening about two weeks early this fall, as by mid-August swathing and combining was well underway in the Virden area.

This week has continued hot and dry, the harvest is coming in quickly and a field fire is more likely than damp grain.

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Last week, Aug. 17, travelling across southern Manitoba to south of Winnipeg, field after field was turned to bare stubble.

With some good rains in the early part of the growing season along with lots of sunshine and humid days, crops grew well.

By July, with an unusually long streak of dry weather and heat extremes - up to 39 degrees on the week of Aug. 6-10 - suddenly it was harvest time.

According to the Manitoba Agriculture report, across the southwest some yields are average, some lower than average; most grains are of good quality, but low bushel weights have been reported in oats and barley.

Cattle feed

Cattle farmers hoping to cut oats in the dough stage for green cattle feed report they didn’t anticipate the sudden ripening. Oat stands went from the milk stage, too wet for green feed, to dry kernels and straw.

Some sloughs are dry for the first time in years, so more slough hay is being cut and baled.

© Virden Empire-Advance