Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 08/22/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 08/22/2013 9:49 AM | Updates
Grain farmer Curtis McRae and his family dodged a bullet Tuesday night.
For a while in the early evening, it looked like their family farm near St. Andrews might be in the path of a severe thunderstorm that tore through parts of southeastern Manitoba, pounding areas like the Rural Municipality of Reynolds with hail, high winds and heavy rain.
"That storm scared the hell out of us," McRae said Wednesday, noting it would have severely damaged their ripe and nearly ripe cereal crops.
Luckily, it missed their farm. So on Wednesday, McRae and his brother were heading back into the fields to resume their harvesting, which only got underway Tuesday.
Due to an unusually long winter which delayed spring seeding, and an unseasonably cool summer which slowed crop growth, the McRae family and most other Manitoba grain farmers are two to three weeks behind with this year's harvest.
"Last year on the first day of August we were combining," McRae said.
-- Manitoba Pulse Growers Association spokesman Albert Turski
And that has some, including him and Keystone Agricultural Producers president Doug Chorney, hoping for a lot more warm, sunny weather for much of the next four or five weeks. The last thing they need is any more severe storms or, heaven forbid, a killer frost.
If they get their wish, this could be another good year for many Manitoba grain farmers. In its latest principal field crops report released Wednesday, Statistics Canada said Manitoba farmers are expecting to harvest record amounts of soybeans and corn this fall. They also expect to harvest more spring wheat, canola and barley than in 2012, which was also a good year for grain production in Manitoba.
But as always, those predictions are contingent upon them getting good weather for the remainder of August and most of September. If they don't, all bets are off.
Chorney said later-maturing crops like soybeans and corn are especially vulnerable. With the delayed growing season, many of those crops won't be ready to harvest until early October.
"Most crops are shockingly late, those near the Saskatchewan border especially," he said, adding he's even heard reports of some canola crops that are still in the flowering stage. "And that's not typical at all."
Chorney said soybeans make up about a third of his crops this year, which could be great because soybean prices have been holding up better than prices for a lot of other crops this year.
-- Keystone Agricultural Producers president Doug Chorney
"And my own canola looks better than it's been for 10 years."
"But I don't want to see any frost before Oct. 1," the KAP president said. "It could be a real disaster if we get a bad frost before then."
A spokesman for the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association agreed an early frost, particularly a heavy one, would be big trouble for most soybean producers because with most crops, the pods are just starting to fill with beans.
"So if we get a frost in the next week, there will be nothing. Zero," Albert Turski said.
But Turski doesn't think that's going to happen, so he's not hitting the panic button.
"We are a couple of weeks behind, but sometimes Mother Nature makes up for it," he said.
McRae said his family planted mostly canola and wheat this year, with only a small amount of soybeans, corn and barley. Although grain prices are down from last year's heady highs, they're still at or slightly above average in many cases. So if they get another month of favourable weather, they should be in good shape.
Statistics Canada said a survey of 1,760 Manitoba farmers between July 24 and Aug. 5 showed local producers expect to harvest a record 928,000 tonnes of soybeans and 919,500 tonnes of corn for grain this year. That would easily top last year's record of 759,300 tonnes of soybeans and 815,400 tonnes of corn.
Nationally, it said Canadian farmers expect to harvest a record amount of canola and corn, as well as more wheat, barley and oats.
Here is what Manitoba farmers are expecting to harvest this fall, with the percentage change from last year in brackets:
|Type of Crop||Harvested area (acres)||Yield (bushels/acre)||Production (tonnes)|
||1.0 million (28.1)||33.3 (-4.6)||928,000 (22.1)|
|Corn for grain
||106.5 (-3.8)||919,500 (12.8)|
|Canola||3.1 million (-13.4)||26.1 (27.2)
||2.3 million (10.7)|
|Spring wheat||2.8 million (19.6)
||N/A||3.3 million (13.4)|
|Sunflower seed||74,000 (-24.5)||1,955 lbs/acre (-25.1)||49,200 (-43.4)|
-- Source: Statistic Canada
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 22, 2013 B8
Updated on Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 6:45 AM CDT: replaces photo
9:49 AM: formats table
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Small SUVs, pricey sports cars dominate at Geneva auto show
New plane tracking to be tested after Malaysia jet mystery
O'Malley points to financial regulation as a campaign issue
Silicon Valley shuttle drivers vote to unionize
Firm agrees to refund to settle suit over weight-loss pills
Dallas-area ice forces cancellation of nearly 1,000 flights
Greece will not seek another bailout, prime minister says
Lawmakers may end tax break on jet fuel, to Delta's dismay
Lawmakers may end tax break on jet fuel, to Delta's dismay
Hyundai recalls 263,000 cars due to power-steering problem
Berkshire Hathaway's 4Q profit declines 17 per cent
Striking Danish cabin crew forces SAS to cancel 30 flights.
Annual report offers new clues about Buffett's successor
China's central bank cuts rates again to boost economy
Break's over, Winnipeg; gas prices here finally heading back up
Feeding the small-scale food biz
China's famed Shaolin temple plans big project in Australia
India's new budget aims to boost growth and infrastructure
Dearth of young entrepreneurs puzzling
Slowdown takes root
Saudis' oil strategy going as planned
Lured jobs his gift to city
The motivation equation
Cruz tells anti-tax group 'No' to Common Core in schools
Pence: 'Dramatically increase' defence spending
Former US Rep. Rick Renzi reports to prison for 3-year term
Sobeys shuts warehouse
Fresh rumours suggest StandardAero sale looms
Yellen meets with conservative groups unhappy with Fed
Booze giant developing 'smart' labels for liquor
Puerto Rico power company delays debt restructuring plan
Most actively traded companies on the TSX
Uber says database containing driver info was breached
Bill O'Reilly's partisan critics stepping up attack
Cities' pipeline questions unanswered: mayors
How the Dow Jones industrial average fared on Friday
Google's Blogger reverses porn policy after user backlash
J.C. Penney and Gap are big market movers