Manitoba corn crops likely unscathed

CNS Canada — Manitoba’s corn crop was nearly fully seeded ahead of crop insurance deadlines in late May, but frost events in Manitoba during the same time frame didn’t likely cause any damage.

Parts of southwestern Manitoba saw a significant frost event on May 29 and 30, which killed off many canola crops and sparked reseeding in many fields. Corn crops, however, likely made it through.

“Corn is pretty frost-tolerant, so it would probably be one of the least worrisome crops when it comes to that,” said Theresa Bergsma, general manager for the Manitoba Corn Growers Association.

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“It wouldn’t have been up as high (as canola), and as long as the growing point is not out of the ground, it might set it back a little bit, but it shouldn’t destroy the whole crop.”

Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp.’s crop insurance seeding deadline for grain corn was Sunday (May 30) in most areas of Manitoba, though some producers have until Saturday (June 6) to get the crop in the ground and be fully covered.

From what Bergsma can tell, most of the acres farmers had intended to plant got in the ground ahead of crop insurance deadlines.

Statistics Canada pegged 2015 Manitoba grain corn area at 200,000 acres in its late-April planting projections report, down from 260,000 in 2014.

It’s still early in the growing season for corn, but there are no indications of insect or disease problems yet.

“I haven’t heard too much about any early pests, we’re only just warming up and the pests just like to get started when the weather warms up,” Bergsma said. “For corn, we don’t have an overabundance and it’s generally taken care of with the seed treatments or with the type of seed that’s planted.”

With few problems arising so far this year, corn growers in Manitoba are optimistic they’ll be able to produce a good crop this year if Mother Nature co-operates.

“If we continue now and it gets warm and hot, we’re going to be just fine at this stage,” Bergsma said.

“Hot and just enough moisture to keep it all going, that would be our prayer.”

Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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