Extensive winter and spring kill knocks out performance trials for Ontario wheat

The Ontario Cereal Crops Committee is citing extensive winter and spring kill of the 2019 winter wheat trials in its decision to not release a performance evaluation report this year. This is the first time this has happened, says Joanna Follings, cereal specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

All of the winter wheat performance trials conducted by the Ontario Cereal Crops Committee in southern and eastern Ontario were severely affected by the prolonged wet weather during the fall, winter, and spring, the organization says in a statement. Two locations were not planted in fall 2018, and many of the remaining locations were either lost over the winter, or the tests were discarded because they were too variable to produce reliable data. What’s more, both trials in northern Ontario are expected to produce reliable data, but the harvest is extremely delayed. As a result, the committee has decided not to produce a 2019 Winter Cereals Performance Trials Report.

Ontario farmers are advised to use the 2018 report as their guide in selecting varieties for planting this fall, which is available on the GoCereals.ca website in the “Downloads” section on the main page. Data deemed acceptable from 2019 will be incorporated into the long-term averages in future reports. A 2019 report for Area 5 will be released when the data become available, the committee says.

Performance and registration trials are run separately, Follings adds, however many of the registration trials are run at the same locations as the performance trials. The committee is currently assessing the situation of the registration trials, but because registration data is gathered over multiple years the committee is hoping enough locations will have data available to not cause delays in moving varieties forward.

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