"It was an interesting spring as we still had some flax and 60 acres of soya beans to harvest. We got most of it off, stuck the combine twice and then got into the seeding.

Interestingly, the flax we took off was worth $552 per tonne, as opposed to $492 at harvest time. Every silver lining has a cloud, though!

We spring-seeded into decent moisture, including low spots which we sometimes have to miss. Emergence was good but by the end of May, things were getting dry, our first rain of the year was 0.5 inches on June 6, then four inches on June 28, which flooded some of the emerging crops.

That was the start of some dramatic thunder storms, with some areas getting 4-5 inches in a few hours, some hail and flash floods washing out gravel roads, some trees and grain bins blown over, we even had a cow killed by lightning.

The Scottish Farmer: The Scottish Farmer:

By the end of July, we had temperatures varying from the teens up to the 30s and we have had just over 8-inches of rain. (There’s a belief here that six months after a hoar frost here you get a rain, after checking my calendar this year it seems fairly accurate as we had four or five days of beautiful hoar frost in January).

We have since had some really good weather and although there are some spots which were drowned out completely, the remainder of the crops look good.

Pastures which, at the beginning of June, looked poor, are now ahead of the cattle and Douglas cut more than 200 acres of our biggest crop of hay ever. The corn/maize is growing tall, the barley and wheat are changing colour and the canola/rape is starting to shed its flowers and form pods.

Oats, from the last of our 2019 cropping, is being loaded this afternoon and heading for the Canada milling plant at Portage, which is two hours east of us, so we get it hauled by contractor.

The Scottish Farmer:

We don’t have any fall rye or winter wheat this year but driving round, we can see some are combining. The spring barley should be ready by the end of August.

New crop prices have been fluctuating, as is normal, but we have a fairly healthy 40% of new crop locked into contracts so far and all at prices ahead of current values.

Donald is trying to get some 70 acres of new pasture/hay seeded ahead of some moisture forecast for this weekend, as we are ripping up 150 acres of five-year-old alfalfa this backend.

The Scottish Farmer:

On the cattle side, Douglas hadn’t sold any of our 2019 calves in the spring as the markets started to suffer this spring due to the Covid-19 restrictions, mainly because of reduced throughput at the big slaughter plants. We had plenty of corn/maize silage and alfalfa hay left over from last year, so it wasn’t a problem.

He finally sold them in June and our 900 lb yearling Angus heifer calves were selling for $1270 and 910 lb steers were making $1445 (or £859), quite a bit back per lb on the year, but with the extra weight it was still a decent cheque.

The Canadian livestock report out this week stated that the cattle market is now recovering from a 10-year low! Of course, just when we’ve nothing left to sell.

The Covid-19 pandemic thankfully hasn’t hit Manitoba too badly, partly because we are mainly rural, which makes social distancing easier but also because the authorities acted quickly. Here in Manitoba, so far, there have been just more than 400 confirmed cases and eight deaths out of a total population of just over 1m. Restrictions are being slowly relaxed, but no-one knows how long it will be until and if we ever get back to something like normal."