Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Viterra joins winter wheat expansion campaign

A program aiming for 100,000 new acres of winter cereals seeded across Western Canada this fall now has Viterra on board as its “premier delivery partner.”

Ducks Unlimited and Bayer CropScience in mid-January launched Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action, a program designed to increase winter cereals acres across North America’s prairies and plains. Bayer at the time pledged $20 million over five years to the North American initiative.

As a partner in the Canadian program, Viterra said in a release Monday that it will play a “pivotal role” by providing product and program incentives to encourage farmers to seed winter wheat.

“Over the last three years, we have seen a significant increase of approximately 350,000 acres of winter wheat across the Prairies, illustrating the success of our partnership,” Viterra CEO Mayo Schmidt said in the company’s release.

Schmidt noted the company to date has donated over $1 million in-kind for the program, but didn’t put a dollar figure on its involvement as a program delivery partner.

“The Viterra partnership through the Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action program is good for waterfowl, good for agri-business, and good for profitable and sustainable agriculture production for farmers,” Ducks Unlimited Canada executive vice-president Jeff Nelson said in Viterra’s release.

“Our partnership is a great example of agriculture and conservation interests working together and proof positive that what’s good for the land, can be good for business, too.”

From a waterfowl conservation standpoint, DUC has said previously that one of the key limiting factors for North American waterfowl populations is a lack of nesting cover on the U.S. Plains and Canadian Prairies.

DUC said its research has shown the density of hatched nests in winter wheat fields to be 24 times greater than in spring wheat.

From an agronomic perspective, winter wheat is touted by its promoters on the basis of its economic advantages as a part of farmers’ crop rotations. Winter wheat, DUC and Bayer said, can yield 10 to 30 per cent higher than spring-seeded varieties, and fall seeding allows farmers to spread their workload and thus reduce potential production risks.

Ducks Unlimited and Bayer together promoted the new program during ag trade shows in Saskatoon, Brandon, Man. and Edmonton as well as in North Dakota and Texas during January and February.

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