Manitoba corn crop unharmed by moisture

(Resource News International) — With the harvest still about a month away, Manitoba’s corn crop is showing signs of producing very good yields.

Teresa Bergsma of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association at Carman said the 2010 year has seen a surplus of moisture — a key reason why this year’s crops are looking so good.

“Moisture at this stage doesn’t really hurt it. Corn is a good user of water,” Bergsma said. “Since the whole year has actually been like that, it hasn’t gone to the deep roots that normally it would do.”

Not only has it been a wet year, but also a warm year. Bergsma said that for the most part, corn loves the heat as it grows deep roots, meaning droughts don’t have as large of an effect on it as on some other crops.

Pam de Rocquigny of Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives at Carman agreed that the heat is helping the crops.

“The potential looks really good right now. The hot weather that we’ve been having has been helping out the corn crop,” she said.

The 10-year average for Manitoba corn is 85 bushels an acre, and she thinks this year’s crop will likely surpass that.

“I think with this kind of moisture and with how things are looking, the heads are filling really nicely, so I would say average to better than average,” Bergsma agreed.

With harvest not usually beginning until October, frost is always a factor when harvesting corn. De Rocquigny said the damage done would depend on how cold and how long the frost is.

A little bit of frost and cooler temperatures wouldn’t have a big impact on the corn crop, Bergsma said,

“These cooler nights are going to slow it down a bit, but nothing major,” she said. “We should be good as long as we don’t get a real killer frost before September.”

Once the corn is off the field, the bulk of it will stay in Manitoba.

“A lot of it will go up to Minnedosa to the Husky Energy (ethanol) plant,” Bergsma said. “If it’s a really good crop it’ll go up to Gimli to the distiller, where it’s used for (Crown Royal) rye whiskey. The rest will go to the feed market, locally.”

Very little if any Manitoba corn ever goes to the U.S., Bergsma said, adding that it goes to the western provinces if it ever leaves Manitoba.

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