Manitoba seeding operations are underway, but weather delays have put cereal crop plantings a couple weeks behind the five-year average.
Historically, seeding progress by the end of the first week of May is 40 to 50 per cent done for spring wheat, oats and barley, as well as grain corn. Other crops like canola, flaxseed and soybeans typically follow. For canola, the bulk of acres are seeded the third week of May.
"However, with cereal planting being pushed back later than normal, other crop types will likely be pushed back as well," says Manitoba Agriculture cereal specialist Pam de Rocquigny.
A late spring this year delayed planting, but ongoing favourable weather conditions should advance activity.
"Over the past five years, we have seen an amazing ability of producers to seed a large amount of acres in short time frame," de Rocquigny says.
She adds that yield potential holds for crops seeded in May, and that most crops remain at 80 per cent or more of average yield potential, even if seeded in the last week of May.
Farmers are assessing survival and establishment of winter wheat and fall rye crops. Winterkill and injury have been reported in some fields, although fall rye is generally rated good to excellent.
De Rocquigny says winter wheat survival and emergence was variable mostly because of the stage of the crop going into winter last autumn.
"Some acres had only just emerged due to dry conditions and were only one to two leaf stage going into winter; some other acres had not yet germinated and only germinated this spring," de Rocquigny says.
Cooler spring temperatures slowed winter wheat development and might affect stand establishment, she adds. Most of those issues, however, are only being reported in the southwest, with other regions reporting the crop is okay.
Fertilizer applications on fall cereal acres have been ongoing.
The cool weather earlier this spring, (and in some cases, excess moisture), also slowed pasture and hay growth, Manitoba Agriculture reported in its latest crop report. This delay has pressured producers' feed supplies as they wait to move their cattle to pasture. Hay shortages are reported throughout the southwest, causing many cattle farmers to resort to alternative feed rations.