Reasons to consider growing winter wheat in your rotation.

Why Consider winter wheat this fall?

June 17, 2024 | Kelly Barany, Chin Ridge Seeds (en-CA)


Every now and then a new seed variety comes along and turns your head. That's the way it was for me, when I saw the stats on AAC Wildfire Winter Wheat. It just looked that good.

We hadn't been growing winter wheat for some years and so it took some convincing to get the family back into the winter wheat game. Seeding winter wheat was going to distract us from the rest of harvest, and heaven knows selling winter wheat when we are busy with harvest was going to be painful for the guys. So we debated.. we went back and forth... and finally decided to take the leap and get back in the winter wheat game and I have to say that we haven't looked back since!

Not only was Wildfire the variety that I thought it would be, but ignoring that, we also have gotten reacquainted with why winter wheat is a wonderful crop to grow.

Here are some reasons to consider winter wheat in your rotation:

1) Take advantage of spring moisture:

Winter wheat has the advantage of benefitting from early spring moisture in dry climates and avoids the challenges of delayed challenging seeding conditions in wetter climates.

2) Competes against Wild Oats:

Winter wheat gives you a head start on weed competition allowing the crop to get out of the ground and compete early with weeds. In fact we have found that it is a strong competitor versus wild oats.

3) Less susceptible to Sawfly:

Winter Wheat is less susceptible to sawfly damage. It's early timing can help you get the crop off without cutting problems where sawfly is an issue.

4) Yields higher than Spring Wheat:

Winter wheat generally yields higher than spring wheat (the common guideline is to expect 15-20% higher yield than spring wheat on the same field).

5) Spreads the Work out:

Winter wheat spreads the work out during the season. Yes it is a bit challenging to be seeding winter wheat if you are still harvesting but the benefits of having less to seed in the spring and the ability to spread out the harvest workload (by harvesting winter wheat earlier than other crops) certainly more than offset that pain.

6) Provides a Cover Crop & is good for the Environment:

Winter wheat provides that cover crop that many farmers are looking for to protect their soil from wind and water erosion. It also provides wildlife habitat for birds and small animals.

So those are a few of the advantages of seeding winter wheat. Granted there can be challenges with winter survival in winter wheat but the latest varieties like AAC Wildfire and our newest winter wheat AAC Coldfront have very good winter survival rates.

If you want to seed winter wheat, now is the time to start thinking about it. You will want to get your seed lined up and get it in the ground in time to ensure that the crop is up and has developed a crown root system prior to frost. For much of the prairies, the crop needs to be seeded between Sept 1 and Sept 15th. Here in southern Alberta you can push that a bit but it is important to get the crop seeded in a timely fashion.

We have had great feedback from our customers on AAC Wildfire winter wheat and still have seed available. We have more AAC Wildfire and our latest variety AAC Coldfront out in the field looking good. To compare these two varieties see our Fall Crop Comparison Chart.


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