Canola crops looking up as Manitoba’s farmers near harvest finish line

Dylan Williamson / Supplied

A long-lasting fall has been good news for Manitoba’s farmers, who are collectively about 80 per cent done harvesting through the final week of September.

Dane Froese of Manitoba Agriculture says with warm weather in the forecast to start off October, it’s even more favourable for a group that’s already ahead of schedule.

Read more: Warmer weather helps Manitoba farmers catch up on harvest, wheat crops exceed expectations

“Our three-year average is around 73 per cent. Last year, the Thanksgiving snowstorm put a real dent in harvest progress — we had a wet fall, and we’re just trying to forget about it.”

Though things can change quickly on the prairies, there’s no precipitation in the immediate forecast for the area around Winnipeg.

While the Interlake region saw some light snowfall earlier in the week and frost was prevalent throughout the past 7 days, Froese says when crops have reached this current level of maturity, it doesn’t seem to matter as much.

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“Right now we’ve been very fortunate that harvest has gone very smoothly.”

“We’ve had good weather conditions and that’s allowed for relatively good quality crops.”

Read more: 2020 Saskatchewan harvest ‘well ahead’ of five-year average across province: crop report

It’s the same case right across the prairies, as both agriculture departments in Saskatchewan and Alberta are also reporting their farmers are ahead of schedule, though Froese says not to the extent Manitoba is.

There were concerns last week about the province’s canola harvest which was impacted by frost at a crucial stage in the growing process early last month, but Froese says what he’s hearing from farmers has him feeling a little more upbeat.

“We’ve heard more reports now of canola yielding in that average range, from 40 to 50 bushels per acre — which is relatively good, for the year we’ve had. We expect the provincial average to be in the high 30s to low 40s. That’s very much in our five-year average.”

That encouraging news follows a spring wheat crop that exceeded expectations in most parts of the province, with yields as high as 90 bushels/acre reported in the Swan River region.

With temperatures hanging around in the mid-teens for the next few days, Froese expects producers to put the pedal down and get most of the meaningful crops off by the end of the week.

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“We’ll hit our 90 per cent target in the next week, week and a half. After that, the last 10 per cent is generally odds and ends left in farmer’s fields.”

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