Test sites to tout winter wheat

Researchers will push yields to show winter wheat can be high performing crop

Thirteen “super sites” across the prairie provinces will be the focus this year of efforts to show the potential of winter wheat.


Bayer CropScience, Richardson International and Ducks Unlimited will work through the Western Winter Wheat Initiative, which was an-nounced in January, to try getting the most out of this year’s sites.


Ducks Unlimited agronomist Janine Paly said the collaborators will push yields on six winter wheat sites in Saskatchewan, four in Manitoba and three in Alberta. 


That push will involve intensive management including supplemental fertilizer and quick action against insect, disease and fungus problems that arise, depending on location, variety and climate.


“We will be pushing yields to demonstrate that winter wheat is a high performance crop,” said Paly.


Large fields, rather than test plots, have been planted for the initiative. 


It is too early in the season to fully assess how the crops came through the winter, said Paly. Assessment is best done from May 15-25, depending on weather conditions in the region.


Good snow cover across much of the Prairies this winter suggests good insulation and low winter kill, but Paly said agronomists will start their scouting next week so more will be known about crop condition by mid-month.


One hundred millimetres of snow is considered the minimum amount during the winter to shield the crop from low temperatures.


The initiative’s overall mission is to “support, educate and equip farmers, industry and end users in the production of winter wheat as a viable cropping choice for western Canadian growers.”


For more information, visit www.growwinterwheat.ca.