Manitoba Crops Going Downhill Fast Amid Record Heat

Jul 08, 2021

Rapid deterioration of crop conditions and moisture reserves was noticeable across Manitoba this week, as the western heat dome moved into the province, bringing record-breaking temperatures, said the weekly provincial crop report released Tuesday.

Crops are maturing faster than normal and grain and pod filling on cereals, canola and peas will be affected by heat and lack of moisture this week. Fungicide applications on cereals and canola are unlikely to occur on many fields.


The heat dome reached Southwestern Manitoba this week, with highs from 31 to 35°C. Trace rainfall only for most of the region.

Fall rye and winter wheat are maturing fast and look to be average to below average, mostly due to winter kill and cool conditions this spring and now heat and lack of moisture.

Most spring cereals are heading out. Hot and dry conditions have affected the crop and rainfall is needed within the next week as tillers are starting to show stress. Some fungicide is being applied, but as conditions remain dry, producers are starting to reduce applications. Peas are flowering and early seeded peas are in the pod-fill stage. The crop looks to be average to above average. Very little disease showing up so far. Early seeded canola is flowering. Corn is doing okay and has handled the heat reasonably well. However, rain is required in all areas.


Intense heat for a number of days stressed crops throughout the Northwest region. Temperatures reached highs of 36°C. Areas that were lacking moisture before the intense heat became more apparent as stresses started to show.

Spring cereals across the region are 75% heading out, with the remainder following behind in the stem- elongation growth-stage. Cereals are still rated at 70% in good condition, as they have been better able to withstand the challenging spring conditions. The yield-potential of the cereal crop is still positive. Winter wheat and fall rye are heading out and just starting to turn colour. Canola across the region is highly variable, with about 50% of the canola crop in the region rated as good and the remainder in fair to poor condition. The canola is patchy, shorter than normal, stagey and many fields still have bare spots. Most of the canola is bolting and flowering. Peas are starting to pod. The ongoing heat stress has caused flower abortion in canola and peas.

Much of the eastern part of the area has had very limited moisture, including Ste. Rose and Rorketon through to Alonsa, with less than 60% of normal precipitation.


Sunny, hot conditions prevailed last week, with moderate wind speeds and variable directions throughout. A thundershower system in the southern part of the region on the weekend brought precipitation to isolated areas along the international border, with a maximum rain of 22 mm in the Altona and Gretna areas. Much of the rest of the region received little to no rain. Topsoil moisture is very poor to fair, with more rain needed to replenish soil moisture in all areas of the region as crops are growing and evapotranspiration is high.

Winter cereals and perennial ryegrass fields are turning colour. Fall rye and winter wheat fields are grain filling, with more advanced rye fields in the soft-dough stage and visibly turning. Wheat, oats and barley are holding west of the escarpment, where cooler temperatures and moisture conditions have been more favourable than in the Red River Valley and northern parts of the region. Many cereal fields are extremely short this year, being stressed by moisture deficits and higher temperatures. Canola staging varies greatly, from rosette to almost done flowering in the more advanced fields.


Rainfall recorded at the Eastern weather stations ranged from zero to 37 mm across the region. Areas in the southeast parts of the region received rain, while northern areas did not. Crops in southern areas that did get some rain are doing better. Both day and nighttime temperatures were well above normal during the reporting period. Stress from lack of moisture became very evident in crops.

Crop development is being pushed on at a rapid pace with the high temperatures. Winter wheat and fall rye heads are filling. Some cereals are prematurely firing the lower leaves. The crop is now at maximum moisture demand with filling going on. Spring cereals are at flowering to early seed fill. Corn is at V6 to V9. Leaf curling due to lack of moisture is very evident, especially in the hot afternoons. Pea crops are at flat pod or R3 growth stage, with very low disease levels in the upper and lower canopy. Flower blast was observed. Sunflowers are at bud or R1 stage. The crop is showing no signs of lack of moisture stress, with deep tap roots reaching down into subsoil moisture. Canola is at rosette to bolt and a few flowers were visible on reseeded acres. Bloom stage ranges from 10% to 50% flower on original crop. The heat has caused lots of flower drop (heat blast) and some fields moved from 20 to 50% flower in a few days. All flax is flowering. Excessive flower drop is evident and drying up of the lower leaves was observed. Concerns regarding aphids in cereals are starting to subside as the crop advances.

Pasture conditions deteriorated rapidly last week, with feeding on pasture continuing. Producers became more concerned about feed supplies going forward. Increased rainfall over the coming weeks will be critical if improvements in the situation are to occur. Livestock water availability is rated as adequate.


All crops in the region experienced the brunt of the heat dome this week. Coupled with very dry soils and previously drought and insect-stressed crops, growth has stalled in many fields. Crop conditions have deteriorated noticeably and minimal fungicide application has been made to any crops due to dry conditions and limited yield-potential. Winter cereals are starting to turn colour. Spring wheat and barley are fully headed out, while some later oat crops are still doing so. Some fields appear evenly uniform, while other vary significantly.

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