Completing harvest from the 2019 crop remains a priority for many farmers. Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) says that is particularly so in the Southwest. Certainly, north of Hamiota and up toward the national park of Riding Mountain there is crop lying in the swath, both cereals and oil seeds.
Despite lower than normal overwinter precipitation and normal to below-normal spring runoff, soils remain damp. As the fields dry enough to support equipment without leaving ruts, spring work is getting underway. However, again, farmers are saying the ground is frozen in places. Too cold to apply anhydrous. But that is changing by the day with sunshine and temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees this week. Average soil temperature is normal to below normal at this time.
Winter wheat and fall rye are doing well as most fields look promising with very little to no winterkill this year. Field peas and spring wheat are the first crops to be sown across all regions, followed by some corn acres in the Red River Valley. Weed emergence has started, but cool conditions are prohibiting them from flourishing.
Cattle are being turned out to enjoy the remains of last year’s grasses and onto stubble fields, but growth is slow and many remain on feed, which must be running low by now for some producers.
It seems that every spring farmers face challenges while preparing for seeding. There always seems to be more to do than time to do it. So is this a late spring? Manitoba Agriculture says, in their first weekly crop report of the season, that in 2019 there was 20% seeding completed by the end of the first week in May as compared to the three-year average of 25%. We may be a bit behind but data from other years shows us that even when seeding has a slow start nearly all crops are in the ground by the first week in June. So be patient and grease the seeder one more time.