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Moisture Expected to be Key Factor Influencing Yield Potential

23 May 2012

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CANADA - A plant science instructor with the University of Manitoba suggests the biggest factor that could limit yield potential in Manitoba this year will be the availability of moisture.

The 2012 growing season has been characterized by an early spring melt followed by warmer than normal temperatures.

Gary Martens, a plant science instructor with the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, says in Manitoba the rule is the earlier you can plant the higher your potential yield and it's been a very smooth spring for seeding, so based on that our potential yield should be quite high this year.

Mr Martens said: "In the Winnipeg, central Manitoba region we've had more heat accumulation than normal. I'm looking at 580 growing degree days have accumulated to date which typically happens by the first of June in a normal year so we're close to two weeks ahead. The planting is quite a bit ahead of schedule.

"It's not completely done but I would say but I would expect cereals are pretty well completely done. I'd say canola is mostly done and some of the later season crops like soybeans and corn, people will still be planting those but I have already seen them emerged in the field as well.

"As a matter of fact we have this little demonstration at our crop diagnostic school at the research farm in Carman where we planted soybeans starting on April 30th and planted every week to see what would be the best time for planting and so far the April 30 soybeans look the best. They're up, emerged, they're doing well so there's been not a bad enough frost to get them since April 30."

Mr Martens acknowledges the unknown variable is moisture, saying if we have adequate moisture, then the potential yield could be realised, but if conditions are drier than normal, yield could be limited.

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