Sometimes Mother Nature has other plans that are out of your control

May 18, 2018

If your winter wheat appears to be struggling, it may still need some time to recover. Western Winter Wheat agronomists urge growers not to assess their crop until at least halfway through spring seeding operations. Even in poor conditions, winter wheat has been known to bounce back; however, the winter wheat stand may behave more like spring wheat. This is because under these circumstances winter wheat is less competitive with weeds and has an increased risk to disease and pest pressures.

In some cases, for various reasons, a winter wheat crop may not survive the winter.

Only when the stand has been properly assessed and deemed unacceptable should a producer terminate a winter wheat crop and re-seed. If you do decide to re-seed, there are agronomic factors to consider:

  • Spray out the winter wheat stand as the crop will draw on moisture and other nutrient reserves.
  • Be cautious if re-seeding to a different type of wheat as wheat streak mosaic virus may carry over from infected winter wheat crops.
  • If a herbicide was applied in the fall, be mindful of re-seeding restrictions.
  • And remember to credit fall fertilizer.

It’s definitely an unfortunate circumstance, but terminating a winter wheat crop and re-seeding the field is sometimes the best option for your operation. Be sure to consult with your crop insurance agent to receive proper coverage. And, as always, if you have specific agronomic questions, contact your provincial winter wheat expert at:

Don’t be discouraged if Mother Nature has other plans for your winter wheat field this year and you have to terminate the crop. Growing winter wheat in Prairie Canada has the same risk of winterkill as Kansas, the largest winter wheat growing state, at only nine per cent. Plan to incorporate winter wheat into your crop rotation again this fall as in most years it pays to include it as part of a regular farm management system.