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Winter Wheat Seeding Preparation

Jun 11, 2014

Winter wheat fits into the cropping rotation for many producers across the Canadian Prairies, which provides the opportunity for growers to realize the numerous benefits this highly-profitable crop can offer; however, in most cases, seeding operations overlap with the harvest of spring crops. To ensure time management does not become a limiting factor, experienced winter wheat producers will often have a good logistical plan in place.

Inexperienced growers who decide last minute to seed winter wheat often seed late or sacrifice important harvest days. Time is required to prepare and service seeding equipment, line up seed and fertilizer, as well as apply herbicide before seeding.

These logistical issues can easily be addressed by being proactive. Winter wheat does require a change in production practices but total farm management requires producers to be efficient.

By using this checklist one can plan, prepare, and seed successfully:

  • Select a winter wheat variety: When selecting a variety, use your local provincial seed guide. Consider other traits than just yield such as maturity, protein, winter hardiness, and disease resistance as these non-yield characteristics will play a major role in production.
  • Line up seed early: Having seed in the yard or lined up with your local seed grower will save time and headaches when seeding begins.
  • Have fertilizer at the farm: Contact your local farm supply dealer before seeding. If on-farm storage is not feasible, arrangements should be made so that fertilizer will be available when needed.
  • Prepare seeding equipment:  Growers may even have their seeding equipment field-ready with seed and fertilizer on board, so seeding can start before the trucks are needed.  Trucks to supply seed and fertilizer are often a limiting factor when seeding, so use seed wagons, hopper bins, or borrow trucks if necessary. This type of preparation will save precious time during harvest.
  • Control of weeds and volunteers:  Proper weed management prior to seeding can be a useful tool when establishing your winter wheat crop. The presence of weeds and volunteers can adversely affect the crop’s yield by competing for available light, nutrients, and moisture. Effective time management tools such as on-farm chemical availability and having spraying equipment ready will ensure a successful and smooth seeding process.

 

Experienced winter wheat growers that are harvesting earlier will tell you the benefits of an early harvest greatly outweigh the added work of a few hours of seeding. Organization is a key component in incorporating this profitable crop into a successful cropping rotation.

 

By Janine Paly