Some S. Manitoba canola ‘wiped out’ in weekend frost

CNS Canada –– Many canola crops in southern Manitoba were badly damaged by frost early Saturday morning, leading farmers to reseed fields, one local farmer reports.

“There’s quite a bit of canola that has been damaged, and some guys are reseeding. Some guys are still assessing, though,” said Anastasia Kubinec, oilseed specialist with Manitoba, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives at Carman.

“We are recommending that they maybe wait another day before deciding to reseed.”

Some of the hardest-hit regions were around Fannystelle, Elie and Elm Creek, west and southwest of Winnipeg, according to Ed Rempel, president of the Manitoba Canola Growers Association.

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WeatherFarm data shows the temperature hit -2 C at 5 a.m. on May 30 at Fannystelle. Areas around Elm Creek and Elie fell to -1 C around the same time. In Brandon, temperatures dropped to -3 C early Saturday morning.

Bill Craddock, whose farm is located in Fannystelle, said many of the fields in the region were “wiped out” by the frost.

“From Starbuck east we have been more fortunate, but west of Starbuck has been less fortunate,” Rempel added.

Many farmers have already started reseeding, and there should be enough seed supplies to go around in the country, though it may take time to get it delivered.

“Every half-ton I saw yesterday had canola seed in the back of it,” said Kubinec. “Monsanto and Bayer, their reps are running around with canola seed; so is Canterra, and BrettYoung Seeds was taking seed orders this morning.”

While having to seed canola fields again will eat up some of the farmers’ time, it won’t be much of an additional cost, she added.

“Some of the companies, if they’re reseeding back to the same variety, they are giving them a heavy discount on the seed, and they will get a reseed benefit from MASC (Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp., the province’s crop insurance provider).”

The frost problem is widespread and more extensive than recent reports suggest, according to Rempel. It’s still early enough in the growing season, however, and a good crop is still possible if weather co-operates for the rest of the spring and summer.

“The canola that is being seeded now should pop out of the ground very quickly, and typically there’s enough moisture in Manitoba to get that done,” he added. “If we don’t have a really hot flowering period at end of June, beginning of July, we’ll be just fine.”

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

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