Yields Respectable in 2014 Despite a Challenging Year

Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) has released an early version of the 2014 yield report with 99.8% of the Harvest Production Reports (HPRs) keyed in.  The table below summarizes the 2014 average yield by crop type based on the harvested acres, as well as comparisons to 2013 and a 5-year average (2009 to 2013).

2014 yields

In February 2015, MASC will release their annual Yield Manitoba publication and update their Manitoba Management Plus Program (MMPP) website (http://www.mmpp.com/mmpp.nsf/mmpp_index.html) where further information on yields and acres by variety will be released.  Additionally, the data will be more complete in February as all HPR’s will be keyed in.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Anastasia Kubinec & Dennis Lange, Crop Specialist with MAFRD

Special Thanks to Doug Wilcox, MASC, for providing the 2014 data!

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Report available on insured acres of cereal varieties – CGC

WINNIPEG, Oct. 27, 2014 /CNW/ – The “Cereal Varieties – 2014 Insured Commercial Acres” report is now available on the Canadian Grain Commission’s web site. The report covers Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and shows the number of insured acres of seeded varieties of wheat, durum, barley, oats, rye and triticale. The report shows total acres of each cereal crop by province. Information for wheat is further broken down by class.

The report is based on information from Manitoba Management Plus Program, Saskatchewan Crop Insurance, Alberta Agricultural Financial Services Corp. and BC Crop Insurance.

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Grain Commission’s report is based on acres insured through provincial crop insurance in the western provinces and does not reflect total acres seeded.
  • In the report, cereal varieties are classified based on the Canadian Grain Commission’s lists of designated varieties.

Associated links

Canadian Grain Commission

The Canadian Grain Commission is the federal agency responsible for establishing and maintaining Canada’s grain quality standards. Its programs result in shipments of grain that consistently meet contract specifications for quality, safety and quantity. The Canadian Grain Commission regulates the grain industry to protect producers’ rights and ensure the integrity of grain transactions.

SOURCE Canadian Grain Commission; Government of Canada

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Update to Historical Seeding Progress in Manitoba

Another week has passed and seeding progress was made in some areas of Manitoba, while some producers wait for warmer and drier conditions.  Hopefully many producers are able to make good seeding progress while the sun shines over the next few days.

Last week I provided an update “What is ‘normal’ seeding progress for this time of year?”  http://cropchatter.com/what-is-normal-seeding-progress-for-this-time-of-year/.  That information covered up to end of Week 1 in May.

In Table 2 below, cumulative seeding progress to the end of Week 2 in May for six crop types is provided.  The last five year (2008-2012) average cumulative seeding progress is noted, along with what was seeded in the same timeframe in 2013. (In 2013, Week 2 ended on May 18th).   Please note that data is for final insured crop in the ground.

Table 2:  Historical seeding progress in Manitoba by end of Week 2 in May (2:05).

Crop Cumulative 5 yr Cumulative 2013 (%)
(2008-2012) (%)
Red Spring Wheat 65 54
Barley 58 38
Oats 56 36
Argentine Canola 36 22
Grain Corn 62 79
Soybeans 22 28

Good luck to everyone with their seeding operations and keep safe!

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, MAFRD Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist

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What is ‘normal’ seeding progress for this time of year?

Continuing cold temperatures (both air and soil) and wet conditions are impacting seeding operations across Manitoba, and in other parts of Canada and the Northern United States.  So what is ‘normal’ seeding progress for this time of year, early May?”

Producers who participate in AgriInsurance provides seeding date information to Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC).  This dataset provides us a historical perspective of when seeding has taken place in the past.  Seeding date data information is broken down into a week:month format, i.e. 1:05 is Week 1 in the 5th Month (May).  So 2:05 is Week 2 in May, and so on.

Each week is then categorized dependent on the day of the week in which the month starts.  So if Week 1 starts on a Sunday, there will be 7 days of seeding captured in Week 1.  However, if Week 1 starts on Thursday (like we have in 2014), there are 10 days captured in Week 1.  Confused yet?  Essentially, each year will have a different number of days captured in each weekly timeframe, varying from 5 days up to 12 days.  However, the data still provides good reference points to seeding progress in Manitoba.

In Table 1, cumulative seeding progress to the end of Week 1 in May for six crop types is provided.  The last five year (2008-2012) average cumulative seeding progress is noted, along with what was seeded in the same timeframe in 2013.   Please note that data is for final insured crop in the ground.

 Table 1:  Seeding progress in Manitoba by end of Week 1 in May (1:05).

Crop Cumulative 5 yr  (2008-2012) (%) Cumulative 2013 (%)
Red Spring Wheat 50.0 7.4
Barley 41.3 6.8
Oats 43.4 5.3
Argentine Canola 16.7 1.9
Grain Corn 44.9 12.2
Soybeans 2.4 0.2


So, is it time to worry?  I think many are aware of the ability of producers to seed a large amount of acres in a short time frame, as witnessed in 2013.  All we need is Mother Nature to send warm, dry weather our way!

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist

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What are minimum germination temperatures?

Soil temperature is a useful gauge for timing when crops are seeded.  Table 1 shows the minimum germination temperatures for various crops.  These values should be regarded as approximate since germination depends on several factors.  If the soil is too cool, germination can be delayed which can result in uneven or inadequate seedling emergence.

How do I measure soil temperature?

Determine how deep you will be seeding. Then place your soil thermometer at that targetted depth. Take two measurements throughout the day: one in the morning (8am) and one in the early evening (8pm) . Average the two readings to determine the average soil temperature.

MAFRD recommends that you take readings for two to three days to establish a multiple day average, and reminds you to measure temperature in a number of locations in the field, to account for field variability.  Still not sure, see soil temperature data for various locations across Manitoba is available from MAFRI’s Ag-Weather Program:  http://tgs.gov.mb.ca/climate/SoilTemp.aspx.  This can be used as a guideline for an area, but in-field measurements are going to tell you what is actually going on in your field!

Table 1: Minimum Germination Temperatures for Various Crops

Crop Temperature (°C)
Wheat 4
Barley 3
Oats 5
Corn 10
Canola 5
Flax 9
Sunflower 6
Edible Beans 10
Peas 4
Soybeans 10

Sources: North Dakota StateUniversity Extension Service, Alberta Agriculture & Rural Development and Canola Council of Canada

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Happy Robigalia!

The urediniologists at the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory sent a greeting today, April 25th,  wishing everyone Happy Robigalia!

You might wonder what Robigalia is.  Instituted by Numa Pompilius (the second king of Rome), the Robigalia, an ancient agricultural festival celebrated in honor of Robigo (or Robigus, the gender was uncertain), the goddess of blight, red rust, or mildew, was celebrated on April 25, when the crops were most vulnerable to disease.  The Robigalia was one of several agricultural festivals in April to celebrate and vitalize the growing season.

The greeting was sent to members of the Cereal Rust Survey listserv list, whose purpose is to provide a format for cereal researchers and extension personnel to share observations of cereal rusts and other cereal diseases.  For more information on the “Cereal Rust Situation Reports” and “Cereal Rust Bulletins”, visit USDA-ARS website at http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/docs.htm?docid=9757

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, MAFRD Cereal Crops Specialist




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Impact of Hail in Cereal Crops

Originally Published September 3, 2014

Impact of hail on cereal crops will depend on growth stage of the crop at the time of the hail event and the severity of damage.  In a study by R.H. Busch in North Dakota in wheat, the greatest yield reduction resulted when stems were broken in the milk stage, followed by anthesis, soft dough, boot, and hard dough stages – see Table below (Busch, 1975).

Grain yield reduction in spring wheat with 100 percent of stems bent.
Growth stage Yield reduction (%)
Boot (Zadoks 45) 28 to 39%
Anthesis (Zadoks 65) 15 to 60%
Milk (Zadoks 75) 30 to 70%
Soft dough (Zadoks 83) 16 to 55%
Hard dough (Zadoks 87) 3 to 47%
Table derived from Busch, 1975


Yield losses can also be directly attributed to shattering of the mature crop.  A simple and rough estimate of grain loss requires the use of a one-foot square frame:

  1. Pick a typical area of the field.
  2. Place a 1 ft by 1 ft (inside dimension) box on the ground and count the kernels found within the box.

A one (1) bushel per acre loss equates to 20 wheat kernels per/ft2, 14 barley kernels/ft2 and 10 oat kernels/ft2.  Keep in mind that this is a ‘fudge factor’ but for the purpose of rough field estimation is an adequate estimate.

Remember to please contact your hail insurance provider for their procedures in assessing hail damage as they may be different than what has been provided here.

Source:  Busch, R. H. 1975.  The effect of simulated hail injury on spring wheat. North Dakota AES Bulletin 497. 18 pp.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, MAFRD

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Swath, Desiccate or Let it Be – Field Peas & Cereals?!?

Prepared by Anastasia Kubinec, MAFRI Oilseed Specialist & Pam deRocquigny, MAFRI Cereal Specialist

With the cool, damp weather, crops are not maturing as fast as we would like.  ‘Stagey’ crops, big weeds (ragweed, buckwheat, kochia, redroot pigweed) and risks of weathering impacting quality have resulted in many calls about the differences/benefits of swathing, desiccating or letting the crop be.

First, go look at the crop again – how many stages is the crop at? Is it just low spots that have not turned? If the crop is starting to even up, you may want to leave it with the warmer temperatures coming this week (August 12-19, 2013) and let nature work for you. If the crop is at multiple stages and there are big weeds that will cause combine plugging, swathing, desiccating or pre-harvest weed control is a good management option.  For specific product information, contact the marketing companies for rates and registration details.

Key Notes:

  1.  Swathing or desiccating earlier than recommend (30% seed moisture) will not shorten the maturity of the seed. That is based on genetics and weather.  Performing these activities too early will result in reduced seed yield and quality.
  2. Glyphosate is not a desiccant- it is a pre-harvest herbicide and kills crops and weeds.  Use it for perennial weed control and not to desiccate the crop. Don’t use if crop is for seed use.
  3. Some product MRLs (Maximum Residue Limits) have not been set or are lower than what we can meet for crop export into other countries.  Be aware of marketing restrictions that may arise from using certain desiccants/harvest management tools.  For pulses see www.rayglen.com/pdf/2013%20Desiccant%20Guidelines%20for%20Growers.pdf.  For other crops, talk to you buyers.
  4. Know the weather conditions at application timing that will give the best results – Reglone works better on senescing plants and when temperatures are warm, Glyphosate works better on actively growing plants.

Field pea –Swath when most of the vines/pods are yellow-tan color and you can only barely leave a thumbnail impression. Desiccate when bottom 75% of pods are yellow with seeds firm and rattling in pods.  Desiccation usually eliminates the need for swathing and avoids the issues of wind-blown or rain-soaked swaths, and pick-up losses.  Decision to swath or desiccate will be based on weather forecast for the next 10 days, experience and machinery available.

Winter/Spring Wheat – Swathing timing and desiccation timing is the same – seed at 30% to 35% moisture, or hard dough stage (thumbnail imprint can barely be left in seed). Reglone and HEAT are not registered on any cereal crops for pre-harvest use.  If crop is intended for seed, using  glyphosate is not an option, so swath.  If not for seed and the weather forecast calls for wet conditions for the 10 days, glyphosate may be preferred versus swathing as the crop will weather better standing than in a swath.

Barley/Oat – Check  with your buyer about their policy on desiccants on the crop.  This may make the decision for you.  After determining this, the timing of swathing/desiccant is the same as wheat and the considerations to swath or desiccate are applicable as well.

For malting barley, maltsters want plump, mature kernels. The crop must not be swathed on the green side. Delay swathing until the heads have lost their green colour and have a moisture content of <30%. Swath around green patches to avoid having the sample from the field turned down because of green or immature kernels.   Keep in mind that wet weather may loosen the hull, reducing quality. Straight combining is becoming popular. Standing malt barley suffers less damage from moisture and dries faster. However, this benefit must be balanced against the increased risk of shattering losses. Six-row barley is more prone to shattering and neck-break than two-row barley.


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Lodging in Cereal Crops: Part 2 – Timing of Lodging & Impact to Yield

In Part 1 of Lodging in Cereal Crops, we reviewed how lodging impacts yield potential and learned the effects of lodging on final yield will depend largely on growth stage, weather conditions that occur after lodging, and of course the severity of the lodging.  In Part 2, we’ll look a bit deeper at impact of lodging timing on yield potential.

The greatest yield losses will occur when plants lodge in the ten days to two week period following head emergence; losses can range between 15 to 40% depending upon when lodging occurs and how the plant subsequently recovers.

When a crop lodges before flowering, the stem may regain its upright position through ‘goose-necking or elbowing’ if good weather conditions occur afterwards.  However, since plant growth and development has been altered, it can impact flowering, reduce the photosynthetic capability of the plant, and affect carbohydrate assimilation.   Depending on how severe the lodging is and how the plant recovers, lodging at this stage of development can impact both number of kernels per head and individual kernel weight.

If the crop lodges after flowering, the heads will not regain their upright position.  Lodging at this stage of development has more of an impact on kernel weight but severe lodging could also impact the number of kernels per head.

As the crop approaches maturity, yield losses from lodging decrease; losses are due to incomplete grain filling resulting in smaller kernels and lower test weights.  However, yield reduction may instead occur due to increased harvest losses, i.e. neck breakage and loss of whole heads.  If faced with significant lodging within a field, producers who opt to straight combine will likely incur higher losses as opposed to swathing first.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, MAFRD

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Lodging in Cereal Crops: Part 1 – Effect on Yield

Lodging in cereal crops has become a common site in many fields across Manitoba over the past few weeks.  Lodging is often caused by weather conditions, such as rain, wind and/or hail.  However, other factors including fertility program (high nitrogen) and crop management practices (variety selection, seeding date, seeding depth, seeding rates, disease control) all can impact the crop’s susceptibility to lodging.

Effect of Lodging on Yield:

The biggest question that normally surrounds lodging is the impact on yield.  Lodging may reduce yield in a number of ways:

  • Lodging interferes with photosynthesis and carbohydrate movement in the plant, potentially impacting both number of kernels per head and individual kernel weight.
  • Foliar diseases may increase due to a more humid microclimate within the lodged crop.
  • Loss of un-threshed heads can lead to harvest losses, particularly if lodging has resulted in stem breakage.

In addition, lodging can contribute to uneven maturity and decreased harvest efficiency.  Harvest of a lodged crop takes more time and can be more difficult depending upon severity of the lodging.  Harvest efficiency may be impacted due to a reduction of travel speed and more straw entering the combine due to a lowering of the header/knives to accommodate the lodged crop.

However, the effects of lodging on final yield will depend largely on growth stage, weather conditions that occur after lodging, and of course the severity of the lodging.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, MAFRD

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