Whacky Winter Weather

Has your wheat broke dormancy yet?

What comes to mind when we think of Winter 2023/4?   Phrases like “Roller Coaster”, “Mild”, “Easy Winter”, “Are we going to pay for this in April…?”  We certainly agree.

This winter has been anything but normal. The lack of snow and un-seasonal temperatures have started to create some concern in some regions with the wheat breaking dormancy early. However, some areas are still snow covered such as New Liskeard.

What will it mean for your young wheat crop looking to break dormancy soon…? 

First off. It is too early to tell, too early to make wide assumptions.  But in general, as it looks today, the crop is not negatively affected. We do not feel the crop has broken dormancy quite yet. It will take at least five days with the average daytime and nighttime temperature above five Degrees Celsius to truly break dormancy. In some regions, that may happen in the coming week. Cold nights keep us in a rollercoaster pattern which certainly slows things down. If the wheat does happen to break dormancy early, it is still fairly cold tolerant. However, the risk for stand loss starts to be a concern if temperatures reach -10 to -13 Degrees Celsius for an extended period of time with no snow cover.   

Two things to keep in mind…

  1. In general, the bulk of wheat crop was planted 10-15 days beyond “optimum” timing.  This means the plants are small, but the population counts in fall were adequate.
  2. The mild winter has lead to the soil profile being very dry currently.  The ditches are low, the drains are running, and snow pack all but gone.  This will be favourable, because we know that freeze/thaw of heavily saturated soil can create issues for plants with small fragile roots.  It does not currently seem like we are at risk for major disaster (think 2019 crop that had over 30% terminated).

The story may change, but today, things look to be early, but still in good shape.

If you are keen to get out and assess your stand, check out our past story, Spring Scouting Tips and Tricks – C&M Seeds (redwheat.com)

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