Winning with winter wheatDate posted: January 4, 2005
Knowledge and genetic advances are helping the crop deliver on its long-heralded potential, says the Executive Manager of Winter Cereals Canada.
Winter wheat acreage is at record levels across the Prairies and producers are enjoying unprecedented success. Bob Linnell, Executive Manager of Winter Cereals Canada comments on the crop’s acreage rise and expanding potential.
As told to Meristem Land and Science.
On booming winter wheat acreage. Winter wheat has really been a good success story the past several years and we’re seeing more interest than ever in producing the crop. Today’s winter wheat growing area is the majority of Manitoba, eastern and northeastern Saskatchewan and southern Alberta, with scattered growth areas in south-central and southwestern Saskatchewan.
On the Fusarium and midge escape factor. Avoiding the major pest and disease concerns is a main reason for the rise in adoption - it’s what has gotten winter wheat inside the door for many new producers. But as those producers have success, the other benefits are becoming clear as well, and that’s good news for the future of the crop.
On new variety gains. My first experience growing winter wheat was Norstar, which had had no stem or leaf rust resistance and a lodging problem because of weak straw. When the varieties CDC Kestrel and CDC Claire came out, we saw a lot better package and a 20 to 25 percent yield advantage. Now, with the newer series of varieties such as CDC Falcon, CDC Harrier, and CDC Raptor, we’re seeing another 25 to 30 percent yield advantage above CDC Kestrel and CDC Claire.
On yield potential. Under good conditions for both crops, winter wheat can out yield spring wheat by an average of 30 to 40 percent.
On flexibility benefits. The production flexibility offered by winter wheat is something we hear a lot of talk about. Farm size has been increasing, and farmers like to spread out their workload. Planting winter wheat gets rid of some of the workload and potential problems of spring seeding.
On the Canadian Wheat Board’s special program for red winter wheat. This program is mainly designed to help encourage and market the production of varieties with the best milling quality traits. The acres of winter wheat are growing consistently, and this can only help that trend.
View related article in Western Grains Research Magazine
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