The drought-like conditions in much of southern Manitoba over the last month will have an impact on wheat quality, according to a weather and crop analyst with the Canadian Wheat Board.

"We're expecting to see shrivelled and shrunken kernels, simply because it was pretty scorching for so many weeks on end without moisture in a lot of areas," says Stuart McMillan.

He notes their quality expectations for this year's crop have improved since spring.

"I think we will see the quality profiles improve a bit, because at the start of this year, given the late, late planting, I expected to see a whole pile of frosted-out grain. That risk has been reduced now," he says. "I think we may start to see some higher proteins come off, but I don't think we'll be in for a very wide spread protein year at this point."

He says crop staging ranges from ripe in the eastern prairies to several weeks behind normal in the west.

"We've started to see some of the first crop coming off the fields, most of it being red winter primarily throughout eastern and central Manitoba, but a bit into the west as well. I've also heard from guys that the earliest seeded spring wheat crops are also starting to come off," he says. "In the east, the warmth that we've had, plus the occasional showers for areas that were lucky enough to get them, has helped the crop develop to where we're really on track for a fairly normal harvest season."

"Out west, they've really not had the warmth at all. The best they've achieved is normal temperatures, after months of below normal temperatures," explains McMillan. "The crop looks very good, but they're still going to need some heat and an open window this fall to get that crop off in good quality."