Moisture Blossoms Opportunity, Blooms Challenge Resistance

Posted on August 4, 2020

#BootsOnTheGround is exactly what the Crop Tour is all about - I pushed over 2,000 km scouting various crops in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. What a week – it flew by and felt like my boots never hit the ground. Thankfully with the large area covered, I have plenty to share.

Danielle Rands' route on July 21, 2020
Map - Danielle Rands' route on July 21, 2020

Late Rain in June

Danielle Rands scouting a pea field in Manitoba
Danielle Rands scouting a pea field in Manitoba

At the beginning of the season, things were looking grim. I saw no rain after seeding which created various problems due to other conditions farmers were dealing with. Because the topsoil was dry, the 50-70 km winds were blowing dirt into the ditches like it does snow in the winter. I experienced seeing this in my travels this week.

 Then came the bugs. If we had rain, the crops would have grown faster and then been more resistant to pests, but instead, producers had to spray multiple times to keep them at bay and protect the little plants that started with subsoil moisture. June was looking bleak for rain until the 26th when the rain came down. Some areas got more than others and places like Ste Rose suffered from drowned out areas along with the significant rains over by Brandon, Manitoba. Yorkton and Kamsack, Saskatchewan, are still struggling with a lack of rain. But even the smallest amount of moisture bloomed more opportunity than there was before.


Resistance to Rotations

Golden canola in Manitoba
Golden canola in Manitoba

While more and more areas are starting to be more conscious of the current clubroot issues, I do see areas still seeding a lot of canola. Agronomists are saying, “it’s not if you get it, it’s when you get it". Genetic research will be important for resistance. In some areas, you could spin and see canola in every direction. In other areas, I saw more peas, barley, oats, and rye. Some producers backed off wheat acres due to grading uncertainties at elevators, especially after last year’s falling number episode. Producers are trying new rotations with cereal crops.


More Pea Acres

Peas in Manitoba at about 72 bushels per acre
Peas in Manitoba at about 72 bushels per acre

I’m seeing more pea acres in areas that haven’t grown peas in years. As we see more pea processors in Manitoba, I see rotations start to include them more. In areas that were commonly wheat and canola rotations, there are yellow peas. In place of some soybeans, again, peas. When the market is there, producers respond. A few years ago, we could hardly find anyone to buy them. Today, specialty and niche markets are opening up along with processors. Some new eating trends are starting to help these markets out. And the biggest thing I saw in yields, is that these crops are going to be big in most areas in southeastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba.

Although I wish I was crop touring face-to-face with my clients, colleagues, media, and industry, it was nice to get out on the road and put my boots on the ground.

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Rain, Rotation, & Rays of Hope in Southwestern Saskatchewan
Snapshot - 2020 Production Potential