Manitoba canola yields disappointing producers
Posted Aug. 29th, 2012 by Robert Arnason
Canola growers in Manitoba have been extremely disappointed by yields this harvest season, as record temperatures and arid conditions hindered pod development in July.
Yet, the extreme heat may not be the only factor behind poor canola returns, which ranged from 20 to 25 bushels per acre on many farms, because blackleg also robbed canola growers of yield in 2012, says a provincial oilseed specialist.
As a case in point, when Ed Rempel harvested the northern portion of one of his canola fields in August, the yield meter on his combine dropped dramatically.
The remainder of the field produced 40 bushels per acre or higher, but in his 80 acres of lower lying land the yield sank to nearly 25 bushels an acre.
“I saw a substantial 12 to 15 bushel decrease in the blackleg area of the field,” said Rempel, who farms near Starbuck and is president of the Manitoba Canola Growers Association. “Fifteen bushels an acre is $200 an acre.”
Manitoba Agriculture’s annual canola disease survey, done in late July and early August, showed that blackleg was present in 70 to 75 percent of canola fields, said Anastasia Kubinec, provincial oilseed specialist.
While that’s higher than previous years, the bigger story is the severity of blackleg in the 2012 canola crop.
“We’re seeing more plants within each field that are affected,” Kubinec said. “Normally, we’re usually seeing that 10 percent (of plants) in a field have blackleg. We’ve had a lot more cases this year where we have seen 60, 70 or 80 percent (of plants) had blackleg.”
It’s only a rough estimate, but Kubinec guessed that blackleg reduced canola yields in Manitoba by 10 percent this year.
Blackleg acts like an elastic around a plant’s stem, restricting its ability to draw moisture and pull nutrients up through the stem, Kubinec explained.
Most fields developed blackleg later in the growing season, which hindered plant development during the final stages of pod filling.
“Instead of having the seed…off those top pods, it has completely dried out and they’ve blown out the back of the combine, or you have really small seeds in your sample,” she noted.
Manitoba Agriculture surveyed 150 canola fields throughout the province for disease this summer. As part of the process, they send a letter to the grower with information on the level of disease in the crop.
Normally the letter goes out in October, but this year it was sent in the fourth week of August because growers will soon making seeding plans for 2013. In the letter, Manitoba Agriculture recommended that growers rotate away from canola.
“If you have high incidence of blackleg you should maybe think twice about putting canola on that field next year. Or even two years from now,” Kubinec said.
Rempel is one grower who is taking the recommendation to heart.
“No canola in this (blackleg) field… until 2016,” Rempel said, unless he divides the field and plants canola on the portion without blackleg prior to 2016.
Overall, canola yields on Rempel’s farm this year were well below average. Most of his 600 acres yielded less than 25 bushels per acre because of the extreme heat in July.
Looking beyond his farm, Rempel said canola acres in Manitoba’s Red River Valley are bound to decline in 2013 and beyond, because disease and climate pressure will push growers towards other crops.
“Looking out at the cropping landscape for the next year, I’m seeing that in the (Red River) valley we will lose canola acres to soybeans in a very real way,” said Rempel, who plans to cut his canola acreage next year.
“I think everyone in Western Canada has been pushing their rotations…. In the (Red River) valley, maybe some of those chickens are coming home to roost.”
Besides blackleg, Rempel is also concerned about the extreme weather that has become a normal part of the growing season in North America.
Assuming record hot spells, 100 millimetre rainfalls and periods of drought are part of a new climate reality, Rempel said the canola industry might need to respond accordingly.
“For canola growers, in the valley for sure, what we need are varieties that are more robust, that maybe aren’t the yield prima donnas, but can hang onto a good average yield through times of crop stress,” he said.
“The geneticists have been trying to give us about two percent yield increase per year… and God bless them for it. But from where I’m sitting, it looks like we need more robust varieties.”
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:05 pm
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Disappointing early yields support canola futures
Posted Aug. 16th, 2012 by D’Arce McMillan
Canola futures prices rose Thursday on disappointing early yields while soybeans fell and wheat posted solid gains on worries about how much Black Sea producers will be able to export.
It was a “risk on” day generally in all markets with stocks, crude oil, gold and copper up on hopes that Europe and China will take measures to stimulate their economies.
November canola closed at $610.80, up $2.80, but off the day’s high.
Frost might have touched some southern Saskatchewan crops early this morning but generally it appears temperatures were well above the freezing point. Perhaps Regina was the coldest. The Weather Network says the temperature in Regina fell to 4 C early this morning.
• Canola is getting support from reports that early harvested canola is producing lower than expected yields.
The Saskatchewan Agriculture crop report today says four percent of the overall crop is harvested and another seven percent is in swath. The most harvest progress is in winter crops and pulses. Eleven percent of canola has been swathed.
There are indications that sclerotinia, aster yellows, bertha armyworms and flea beetles will reduce canola yield in some regions. Indeed there are mentions in several regions that canola yields might not be as good as initially expected due to disease and insects. This mirrors reports from Manitoba.
• Soybeans today edged back on weaker cash demand after gaining earlier in the week when exporters improved basis to pry soybean supplies from farmers to meet immediate sale orders.
Last week, export sales for this soybean crop, which ends Aug. 31 in the U.S., and the new crop combined topped analysts’ expectation and were the largest since June, according to USDA figures.
• Weather forecasts for the Midwest show improving opportunity for significant rain next week.
• Wheat is the best performer today as traders assess news from SovEcon of tight Aug. 1 grain stocks in Russia, the lowest since 2006. Wheat stocks are the lowest since 2003. The new crop will not help replenish stocks. The Russian harvest is about half complete and so far wheat yields are down about 30 percent from last year.
The situation has revived trader speculation that Russia might yet restrict wheat exports. Russian officials said last week that they do not plan restrictions at least until the end of December. SovEcon noted that if the current pace of Russian exports continues, it would run out of its exportable surplus by November.
There is market speculation that if Russia imposes export restrictions, Ukraine will follow.
• Wheat is also supported by declining projections for the coming year’s wheat crop in Argentina. The government there forecasts wheat area will fall to 9.14 million acres, down from 9.44 million projected last month. That would be down 20 percent from
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:34 am
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Early canola yields low in Manitoba
Posted Aug. 10th, 2012 by Robert Arnason
BRANDON, Man. — Early reports suggest canola yields could be below average in Manitoba this year.
In its weekly crop report, Manitoba Agriculture noted that early canola yields were 20 to 35 bushels per acre, but reports from a grain terminal northwest of Winnipeg indicated that many growers were seeing yields closer to 20 bu. per acre.
However, Anastasia Kubinec, an oilseed specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, said yields from the earliest seeded crops might not reflect the bigger picture in the province.
“Some of those early planted fields that they’re getting yields off now, they were exposed to heavy flea beetle pressure, root rot, potential wind damage and went through that cold spell (early in the spring),” Kubinec said.
“The (plants) may have used some of their energy to get through that (stress).”
Only a fraction of Manitoba growers had combined their canola by the second weekend in August.
Most growers were planning to begin harvest in the middle of the month or later, and many producers still don’t know if a record setting heat wave in July severely cut into their yield.
Environment Canada says last month was one of the hottest Julys on record in eastern Manitoba. The average daytime high in Winnipeg was 29.3 C for the month.
Clayton Harder, who farms west of Winnipeg, isn’t sure if he has an average, good or below average canola crop.
“It looks pretty good. There’s definitely some very heavy spots,” he said in the second week of August.
“But to be honest, I don’t remember such an intense heat blast during the flowering period.”
Harder is holding out hope for his canola because he seeded in late April, so the bulk of the blooming occurred before the scalding weather.
“I’m optimistic there will be a decent crop.”
Kubinec said it’s too early to make general statements about canola yields in Manitoba and expects yields will be highly variable. Much will depend on whether growers received a timely rain during the heat wave and the condition of the crop in late June.
“I have seen fields … it looks like a really, really good crop. Potentially over 45 bu. per acre. Then I’ve also walked into fields where if the guy gets 25 (bu.) he’s going to be lucky,” she said.
“If you had a really good crop going into that hot spell, it seemed to withstand it a lot better than the thinner crops.”
She said it’s possible later seeded crops withstood the heat, as long as the crop canopy
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:43 am
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