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Large Number of Unseeded Acres Stimulates Interest in Fall Seeded Crops

02 November 2011
University of Manitoba

CANADA - A plant science instructor with the University of Manitoba reports the difficulties farmers faced this past spring in getting crops planted has resulted in a higher level of interest among farmers in growing fall planted crops.

The 2011 growing season was characterized by an unusually late start due to cold wet weather and flooding which resulted in an estimated six and a half million acres of cropland across the prairies going unseeded.

Gary Martens, a plant science instructor with the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, observes there was the opportunity to get on the land by the middle of summer to kill some weeds and prepare a seedbed and that allowed farmers to plant a fall crop like fall rye or winter wheat.

Mr Martens said: "I have heard, and I haven't seen the numbers yet, but that there's a significant amount of fall seeded crops that have gone in, probably higher than normal.

"The fall rye is the safer crop to plant because it will over-winter very easily without any kind of protection, without any snow cover. However winter wheat is more fragile and it needs the protection of previous years crop's stubble to catch the snow so that it will survive. Manitoba Crop Insurance knows that winter wheat doesn't survive so well so they will not insure the crop until it has come through the winter if it doesn't have crop stubble on it.

"That's the case for many winter wheat fields this fall. Farmers are going to be on their own until it comes through the winter and if you can show that it has a decent plant population next spring then it's going to be an insurable crop."

Mr Martens says, by starting a winter wheat crop now, farmers are getting started on an income for next year and because we don't know how wet it will be next year, it's sort of like an insurance policy.

He says you've planted something and now you don't have to panic about getting on the land next spring because the crop is already established.

TheCropSite News Desk

University of Manitoba University news is a Wonderworks Canada Production courtesy of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba.
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