Ont. winter wheat survives in excellent condition

Winter wheat seeded in Ontario last fall is believed to have survived the winter in very good to excellent condition.

“Overall there was little in the way of any winterkill reported so far this spring,” said Peter Johnson, a provincial cereal crop specialist at Stratford, Ont.

Out of the 950,000 acres of winter wheat seeded in the province by early November, he estimated only an isolated area in some non-traditional growing regions may have suffered some sort of damage.

In the fall of 2011, farmers in the province seeded 725,000 acres to winter wheat, with 15 per cent of the crop consisting of hard red. In the fall of 2012, hard red acres fell to 10 per cent. Johnson linked that decline to problems getting a high protein content upon harvest.

“Anything that failed to meet the 10.5 per cent protein requirement was graded as feed, which in turn resulted in lower prices being paid to the farmer,”‘he said.

Little of the province’s crop had broken dormancy due to the cool temperatures.

Johnson noted temperatures would now have to drop below -15 C and remain below that level for an extended period of time in order to cause any damage to the winter wheat crop.

The harvest of Ontario’s winter wheat crop was forecast to resume more traditional patterns this year.

— Dwayne Klassen writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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