Manitoba harvest numbers beat multi-year average, says expert

Manitoba's harvest numbers show over 60 per cent of completion, with one expert saying the province is in a good shape. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo/dpa, Julian Stratenschulte

For Manitoba farmers, this year’s crop harvest is going strong with many already fully harvested.

The numbers, according to the most recent provincial crop report on Sept. 19, are 64 per cent. By comparison, the five year average for this time of the year sits ten per cent lower, at 54.

So far, winter wheat, fall rye and field pea are the crops that are completed. Spring wheat, barley, oats and dry beans are the crops that are nearing 100-per cent completion. The harvest for canola and soybeans continues at 55 and 21 per cent respectively.

Jill Verway, president of Keystone Agriculture Producers, says the province is in a good spot. But things could be in a better shape if the weather cooperates, with rainy conditions having been a staple this past week.

“You know, looking at the forecast, if we can keep the rain away here in the next little while, we’ll have a good chance to get everything off in a good shape,” said Verway. “We’re ahead of the five-year average by a bit….”

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Dennis Lange, editor of the provincial report, agreed that the province is on a good track. And even while rainy conditions slowed down the harvest a bit, the aftermath of it has been beneficial to some crops — namely soybeans. One of the reasons, he said, is that it moisturizes the seeds.

According to him, the level at which soybeans are considered very dry is at 12-per cent moisture.

“What typically happens when you get rainfall… the seed rehydrate,” said Lange. “The moisture level becomes more even across the entire sample. The next time the growers get back into that sample harvest or soybeans again, the field will be more evenly mature.”

Lange, who is also the provincial pulse and soybean specialist, said the province’s top three crops are spring wheat, canola, and soybeans. The yield for canola is spread across 3.2 million acres; for spring wheat it’s around 3 million acres, and for soybeans it’s around 1.5 million.

In a previous interview with Global News, Lange noted that the lower numbers for later season crop — such as canola and soybeans — are not a cause for concern.

“Overall, it’s been a very interesting season. It was dry during the summer, but we’ve had enough showers to go through that. There (was) a lot of surprises,” said Lange.

“For farmers that were expecting maybe a lower yield in some areas, the yields were better than expected.”

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The crop report also goes on to advise crop producers to check for weeds that are out of control. A type of weed noted is the waterhemp.

Click to play video: 'New harvest numbers reflect state of Manitoba crop production'
New harvest numbers reflect state of Manitoba crop production

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