Wheat School: Can you seed winter wheat too early?


Wet conditions in parts of Western Canada — especially in the central and northern areas of Alberta — meant some acres went unseeded this spring.

Winter cereals are an option for farmers eager to get a crop growing in those unseeded fields (or in early harvested fields in more southern areas), but there are some risks with seeding too early, according to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s cereal extension specialist.

Clair Langlois says although the recommended seeding date changes depending on region and latitude, he recommends no one should be seeding in Alberta before August 20th.

Too much top growth before freeze-up can increase the risk of winter injury and snow mould, he explains in this Wheat School video.

The other important consideration when it comes to winter cereals is the length of stubble you have for snow catch.

“Pea stubble is not the greatest in the world for surviving winter standing up, it’s pretty well one notch above having a bare ground, but I would say you better be ready and willing to accept more risk of winter damage or death from a field that’s been cultivated or a field of peas, because it does need consistent snow cover. ”

To learn more about the timing of winter wheat seeding, check out this Wheat School episode filmed at Wheat Stalk in Lethbridge, Alberta:

Related: Wheat School: Managing Nutrient Needs & Volunteer Weeds — Getting Winter Wheat Off to a Strong Start

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