Rain in Sask., Man. stalls harvest, causes crop damage

CNS Canada — Rain in Manitoba and Saskatchewan has stalled harvest and caused crop damage, but moving forward, conditions should improve, two industry specialists predict.

Shannon Friesen, a regional crops specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture in Moose Jaw, said recent rains have delayed harvest and stalled maturity in some crops.

Producers have found peas and canola shattering out of pods, she said. Some cereals in the province have also been sprouting due to moisture, and pulses have seen bleaching.

“So a few problems, of course — lodging and that sort of thing as well,” Friesen said.

Despite those issues, she said, most crops still appear to be in good shape.

However, harvest has been stalled as producers wait for their fields to dry.

“Hopefully the rain that we got over the weekend will only delay them a couple of days. Most probably expect to be back in the field mid- to late this week,” Friesen said.

Looking forward, parts of Saskatchewan are expected to see favourable harvest weather, with minimal chances of rain. Many parts of the province are looking at weather in the low 20s (Celsius), according to Environment Canada.

“Impact on harvest”

Manitoba has seen similar conditions to Saskatchewan, with rains stalling harvest and causing crop damage. Most areas across the province reported some precipitation starting Friday and throughout the weekend.

Areas in the province’s southwest saw 15 to 75 millimetres of precipitation, Northwestern areas saw up to 25 mm, and 10 to 85 mm fell in central regions.

Eastern regions were hit hardest, with anywhere from 25 to 175 mm.

“Of course when you talk those amounts of precipitation that’s going to have an impact on harvest, and the ability of producers to be out in the fields,” said Pam de Rocquigny, special crops agronomist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development in Carman.

How soon producers can return to their fields depends on the amount of rain in their area, and the conditions fields were in prior.

Farmers in Teulon and the Interlake have also reported canola shattering. “That can have an impact on producers’ yield as well,” de Rocquigny said.

As in Saskatchewan, Manitoba should see fairly sunny weather moving forward, and de Rocquigny said producers made decent progress on harvest before it rained. “Little bit of good news and bad news.”

– Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow her at @jade_markus on Twitter.

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