Wet Conditions – Seed Winter Wheat into Chemfallow

Jun 21, 2010


Edmonton, AB, June 22, 2010 – any growers across the Prairies are facing challenging circumstances this spring. The Canadian Wheat Board estimates between 8.25 and 12.5 million acres will go unseeded on the Prairies do to high moisture levels. These acres not only pose a problem this year by reducing income and increasing field management expenses of unseeded acres, but could also be a further challenge to seeding in 2011.

However, there is a solution: seed winter wheat into Chemfallow.

Having a crop growing this fall will help reduce the excess moisture, and also eliminate the potential challenges of seeding in those wet fields in 2011.

“Wet springs that make seeding difficult are ideal for winter wheat,” states Paul Thoroughgood, Regional Agrologist with DUC. “Due to its early growth habit and high yield potential, winter wheat is able to make good use of spring and early summer moisture.”

Through the Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action initiative, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and Bayer CropScience are offering growers substantial financial incentives to seed winter wheat this fall. Winter wheat offers yields up to 40 per cent higher than spring wheat. Plus winter wheat helps the environment by providing wildlife habitat.

“Chemfallow may not be ideal stubble, but this standing material is essential for trapping snow and protecting the winter wheat plant from cold temperatures throughout the winter,” says Thoroughgood.

Best practices to consider when growing winter wheat:

  • Avoid tillage
  • Nutrient needs for the crop following chemfallow may be different than cropped acres
  • Soil sampling and professional analysis is also advised for a successful winter wheat crop
  • Employ different fertility management on unseeded acres than with winter wheat seeded on stubble
  • If high risk of carryover of high soil moisture, it may be wise to only apply non-mobile nutrients and apply nitrogen the following spring to reduce losses

“Extremely wet spring conditions, such as those we are experiencing today, are extremely difficult for growers,” says Paul Thiel, Vice President of Innovation and Public Affairs with Bayer CropScience Canada. “Investing in crops that help mitigate against events like this is one way Bayer is trying to increase the sustainability of Prairie agriculture. Including winter wheat in crop rotations is one way growers can help reduce their exposure to wet spring conditions.”

For further information, please contact:

Marci Dubé
National Communications Manager
Ducks Unlimited Canada

About Ducks Unlimited Canada

We are Canada’s most trusted and respected conservation organization.

(Ipsos Reid and NRG Surveys) Our mission is to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.

Additional information about Ducks Unlimited Canada is available at