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Fall Cereals Beat the Drought that has Reduced Spring Cereal Yields

28 August 2012
Manitoba Pork Council


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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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CANADA - A winter wheat breeder with the University of Manitoba reports this year's fall-seeded cereal crops beat the dry weather that has taken such a dramatic toll this summer on the spring-seeded cereal crops.

Drought conditions throughout the US and parts of Canada have taken a dramatic toll on this year's spring-seeded cereal crops.

Dr Anita Brûlé-Babel, a winter wheat breeder with the University of Manitoba, reports from the standpoint of the fall-seeded cereals we had very good winter survival despite the fact that we had little snow cover last year and we started the spring with cool moist conditions under which winter wheat crops thrive.

Dr Anita Brûlé-Babel-University of Manitoba:

The main advantage that the winter cereals have is that the majority of their development is during the cooler more moist conditions and, as a result, they are less likely to suffer from severe heat and drought.

This year for example a lot of winter wheat was coming off already the third week of July and the crop was in good shape because we had hot dry conditions at that time with very little weathering as opposed to some spring crops where you may end up in a cool wet fall and makes it very difficult to harvest.

The types of conditions we've had this year favor the winter cereals over the spring crops in general because the crop has escaped most of the hot dry conditions that have impacted the yields on the other crops.

Obviously if we had had a hot dry spring winter wheat would not have fared as well but again we're looking at trying to mitigate risk and diversifying your farm operations to include winter cereals does provide that opportunity.


Dr Brûlé-Babel says like last year the main concern, as farmers consider seeding winter wheat this fall, is the current dry weather.

She says the recommendation for seeding winter wheat in the fall under dry conditions is still to seed shallow and wait for rain.

She says even if the crop doesn't come up in the fall because it's too dry we usually have sufficient moisture in the spring that that crop will come up even if it is somewhat later in maturing.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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