winter wheat seedlingSuccessful winter wheat crops depend on the process of vernalization in order to spur the wheat to shift  from vegetative to reproductive growth. The process is initiated by the presence of cold temperatures and, surprising to many, is not dependent on seedling growth.

“Wheat’s a pretty interesting crop,” says Peter Johnson, cereal specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, in the following video. “As long as it imbibes (water) — it’s a zero-degrees-Celsius base cereal crop, so if the soil isn’t frozen, it takes in water — it starts the germination process.” As long as the crop starts the germination process, even if it remains as just a seed, it will vernalize at cold temperatures. As long as that happens, it means it will head out next year and the crop will be fine, even if it didn’t fully germinate this fall.

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That’s certainly welcome news for managers of late-seeded wheat crops. But, it doesn’t mean you should neglect your fields.

In this Movember-themed episode of the Wheat School, Johnson scouts a field of winter wheat, explaining the results he’s had in late-seeded fields and what to look for in water-logged soils. In addition, Johnson converts “Movember” to a noun, and emphasizes the importance of PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) testing.

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