The overall objective of this DIAP project was to overcome obstacles in the adoption of winter wheat in western Canada. A two-fold approach was undertaken towards this objective. Firstly, studies were established to broaden the stubble acreage available late summer for seeding winter wheat. This included using alternate stubble types, managing alternate stubble types, and through the use of seed treatments to expand the amount of stubble available to seed winter wheat into in late summer. Secondly, studies were established to evaluate a number of pest and nutrient management strategies to promote winter wheat plant health, growth and yield stability. Improving these components of winter wheat allow producers to widen the length of the seeding window or seed into less optimum conditions and still realize reasonable success. The overarching theme of the research was the development of improved management practices.
The results of a number of the studies have provided some invaluable information for the industry. Furthermore, since this study was largely a collaboration of AAFC investigators, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and the producer-directed winter cereal commissions of the three Prairie Provinces, there has been several opportunities and venues to conduct extension events to transfer the information learned directly to the farm gate. For example, we have already observed a significant increase in the adoption of seed treatments, stubble alternative to canola such as pea stubble were proven to provide similar results, a better understanding of controlled-release N products has been derived from this project, and new chemistries have been identified to improve weed management systems for winter wheat. Additional research is still required to reap all of the benefits of these studies and a number of these studies require more data collection but the activities conducted in this DIAP initiative have certainly provided an excellent starting point to supporting increased successful winter wheat production.
The first field season (2011) of the winter wheat project was challenging, but it was interesting to see that the winter wheat plots generally looked best on field day tours comnpared to the spring annual plots. In many cases, there were no spring annual plots due to flooding. In 2012, most experiments were conducted and executed without incident. In some experiments, we now have up to 19 site-years collected and will be continuing with other experiments to generate the necessary data required to adequately test to address the experimental objectives.
To read the complete update, please see the Update on Winter Wheat Projects from the Agronomy Project PDF.