Sunday November 23, 2014

SE crops responding to sunshine


Producers in the southeast welcomed the warm sunshine in the past week, but many are still dealing with excess moisture and localized flooding. Many areas received heavy rain that has further set back crop development.

Crops in fields that are saturated are yellowing, and warm and dry conditions needed to help alleviate the stress on the crops.

For producer Wayne Vilcu, who farms in the Halbrite-Griffin area, growing mostly wheat and flax, there have been some acres lost to excess moisture, but the crops that are growing are looking good and are responding to the sun and heat.

“Everything is looking good now that the heat is coming on,” he said, adding that with the moistures reserves in the soil now, they could handle a lot of sun and heat, which is “desperately” needed right now.

“We’ll need another shot of rain at some point, but right now we just need that heat,” he said.
The next big thing for him right now is to move some grain and get ready for the new crop to come at harvest time.

Producer and crop specialist Mark Bratrud pinpointed the area from Weyburn east over to Milestone is looking very good for crops, while to the east of Weyburn, a lot of farms are suffering from excess moisture. He said currently there are estimates that around three million acres in southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba may be lost to excess moisture this year.

In the areas that are doing well, cereal crops are looking good and canola is “pretty decent”, while pulse crops generally and lentils specifically are not looking very good, as those crops do not handle excess water very well, said Bratrud.

“We’re just starting to see how expensive the damage is; sometimes it takes a while for the damage to become evident. The excess rain causes a loss of nitrogen, which leads to the yellowing of crops, but with warm sunshine and heat, sometimes those plants can rebound again, or else the  plant dies off and will not rebound.

Cropland topsoil moisture conditions have improved and are now rated as 50 per cent surplus and 50 per cent adequate.

Hay land and pasture land topsoil moisture is rated as 34 per cent surplus and 66 per cent adequate.

Livestock producers have six per cent of their hay crop cut and one per cent baled or put into silage. Hay quality is rated as 24 per cent excellent, 59 per cent good, 12 per cent fair and five per cent poor.

Pasture conditions are rated as 27 per cent excellent, 61 per cent good and 12 per cent fair. Livestock producers report having adequate water supplies for their animals.

The majority of crop damage in the past week was due to localized flooding and wind, but additional damage was caused by insects such as alfalfa weevils and cutworms, and from root rot and various leaf diseases. In-crop spraying for weeds and diseases continues as field conditions allow.


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