Manitoba soybean yields disappoint

Ripe soybeans near Morden, Man. on Sept. 14, 2017. (Allan Dawson photo)

CNS Canada — With Manitoba farmers starting to bring in their early-maturing soybeans between intermittent rains, they may start to see the toll from the dry summer.

Many crop analysts see soybean yields below what farmers have enjoyed for the past couple of years, but they stress that fields are variable and that longer-season varieties may give different results once harvest begins on those types.

Cassandra Tkachuk, Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers’ production specialist, said she is seeing smaller seeds and a wide range of yields from 20 to 50 bushels per acre.

“So, I think we might end up somewhere in the middle of the road there for average yield, like around 35-ish, would be my prediction,” she said.

The average soybean yield for Manitoba is generally considered to be about 35 bu./ac. Farmers expecting the above-average yields of the past two years might be disappointed.

Bruce Burnett, Glacier FarmMedia’s director of weather and markets information, said soybeans are coming in at lower yields than they have for the past two years, but overall yields might get close to the longer-term average.

“I think the early soybeans might be a bit disappointing in terms of yields, but we’ll have to see what the later soybeans come up with.”

The issue most affecting yields was the dry summer, especially in the key filling time in August, he said. The number of beans per pod is down and pod size is also a concern, he added.

Intermittent rains falling in many areas likely won’t be enough to harm plants, he said, unless it drags on and fields get exceptionally wet.

Soybean fields were just starting to mature up when the rains started, Tkachuk said. Farmers in the Red River Valley have taken off about 40 per cent of their soybeans, with farmers in other areas of the province lagging.

“I’m thinking that right around the time that the rain started, quite a few fields were really just maturing up and getting ready to be harvested, and then it was just not great timing to finish up,” she said.

With a few dry days, harvest should be able to progress, she said.

Burnett pointed to decent weather forecasts for the next little while, but it’s variable, he added.

The southern Prairies’ weather outlook is mostly OK through the weekend, he said, but with possible showers for Monday and into next week, depending on location.

Northern growing areas, where cereals and canola were still being harvested, might have a few more problems, he said.

“It’s one of those things where if you’re in the northern growing areas you’re getting some rains every two or three days.”

— Terry Fries writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow CNS Canada at @CNSCanada on Twitter.

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