Seed World

Yields Down, Grain Quality an Issue Across the Prairies

While crop yields aren’t as bad as they were two weeks ago, they are still down substantially from historic averages, the Sept. 7 provincial crop report says. Dryland yields are estimated at 39 per cent below the five-year averages and 37 per cent below the 10-year averages.

The best yields are in the north west region, while the south region is the worst. The average yields for potatoes on dryland and irrigated fields are estimated at 11 and 15 tons per acre, respectively, the report says. For sugar beets, the average yield is estimated at 28.9 tonnes per acre, while for dry beans it is 26.2 cwt per acre.

Crop quality varies across the province. Provincially, quality for malt barley, the top two grades of spring and durum wheat, oats and dry peas are below the five-year averages, while feed barley and the top two grades of canola are above average. There are reports of some greens in canola, while some are being graded as sample, due to sprouts in pods, the report says.

In Manitoba, harvest completion across all regions of the province has reached the halfway mark, and canola quality is an issue, according to the latest provincial crop report.

Soil moisture has rapidly improved in nearly all areas of Manitoba, with the top 30cm of soil showing conditions as optimal to wet, based on field capacity.

“These trends are reflected at depths, where subsoil moisture has also improved slightly,” the report says.

Canola regrowth in Manitoba has become a harvest issue in a number of fields. Dormant, vegetative canola has now begun bolting and flowering in many ‘ripe’ canola fields, complicating harvest. Effects are most noticeable in the most severely drought-affected fields.

Limited fall tillage has begun; many producers are waiting to conserve moisture and target maximum volunteer regrowth, instead of tilling twice, or are choosing to do a burnoff instead.

Substantial rains in Manitoba have meant that hay and pastureland has now greened up, and livestock producers are intensively managing regrowth areas to support fall grazing, the report goes on to say.

According to the latest Saskatchewan crop report, estimated average crop yields at this time are 27 bushels per acre for hard red spring wheat, 19 bushels per acre for durum, 38 bushels per acre for barley, 20 bushels per acre for canola, 21 bushels per acre for field peas and 817 pounds per acre for lentils. Crop yields were greatly affected by drought conditions during critical growing stages this season and yields are far lower in some areas than anticipated, the report says.

—with files from Ashley Robinson