In late, wet year, prairie producers are finding time for fall seeded crops

Flooded acres in June are now mostly dry and hold good potential for winter wheat.


Seed grower Robert Mastin said his phone has been busy with farmers that are new to the crop. 


“But there are some old hands that already know their way around fall planted cereals too,” he said.


“There is lots of potential to turn a bit of a crop tragedy into an advantage for next season,” said the Sundre, Alta., seed grower.


Mastin markets seed across the Prairies and said farmers from southeastern Saskatchewan and large parts of southern Manitoba tend are interested in growing it this year.


“And the rest of the crop is late, so seeding fits in well with harvest plans too. They don’t have the pressure of combining and seeding in the same week,” he said.


Agronomist Paul Thoroughgood of Moose Jaw said flooded land has provided an opportunity for some producers to try fall seeded cereals for the first time. For veteran growers that couldn’t get crops out of the field in time for planting last fall, it also offers the chance to get it back into their rotations.


Mastin said winter wheat generally pays better than its spring seeded cousins due to its higher margins.


“You take advantage of that early season head-start on midge, weeds and in some cases fungus. Newer varieties like Pintail have good stripe rust resistance too,” he said.


Thoroughgood said winter wheat also tends to be higher yielding. The combination of potentially lower pesticide input costs and yield in a general purpose or winter wheat class, aids the bottom line.


The Ducks Unlimited agronomist said being able to start harvest several weeks ahead of spring crops also spreads the work around, maximizing machinery use and allowing more of the spring crop to be planted earlier.


Fall seeded crops also tend to avoid issues related to early frosts, drying costs in wet harvest conditions and grade loss due to weather.


For more information, contact Mastin at 403-556-2609 and Thoroughgood at 306-359-2214.