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Winter wheat seeding promising in Ont.

Winter wheat seeding promising in Ont.

Farmers seeded most winter wheat in good time and good conditions 

By Jackie Clark
Staff Writer

Producers in Ontario planted most of their intended winter wheat acres in time for good establishment before winter.

“Winter wheat seeding has actually gone really well this year,” Joanna Follings, cereals specialist at OMAFRA, told “We had a pretty good harvest window, from a soybean perspective at least. A lot of the soybeans came off in really good time. Winter wheat was seeded right after into really good conditions.”

Optimal planting timing is essential to accumulate adequate Growing Degree Days for winter wheat germination and emergence. “The fields that have emerged are looking good,” said Follings.

“We don’t have a final number yet but, based on my conversations with agronomists, retail outlets and producers, I would say we’re probably looking close to 1 million acres of winter wheat seeded this fall.

“The amount of wheat seeded varies by region. We’re hearing reports that acres in central and eastern Ontario are down this year because they had more wet conditions during soybean harvest and (wheat) seeding, whereas in southern Ontario winter wheat acres are reported to be up,” she added.

It’s tough to predict what winter wheat growers can expect to see in the spring.

“We’re maximizing yield potential, but it really is going to depend on what we see between now and April. If Mother Nature cooperates, I think we’ll be off to the races come spring,” Follings explained.

Ideal winter conditions for winter wheat include “some snow coverage to nicely insulate that crop, and not a lot of freeze-thaw events where we go above zero, all the snow melts, and then we create a sheet of ice over the crop,” she added.

This season is a stark contrast to winter wheat seeding in 2018.

“Last fall, we ran into a lot of wet conditions. It rained pretty much until the end of October. So there was a small window of opportunity to get winter wheat seeded. Whereas, this fall, I think we’re in a much better position,” Follings said.

“It is a positive that came out of the 2019 season.”

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