Cultivation of winter cereals has several advantages such as acting as cover crops, control of tough weeds like wild oats, disease control or escape (Fusarium Head Blight), use of residual fertilizer nutrients from the spring crops and preventing nutrient loss, high straw yield and spreading farm operations. In order to get maximum economic yields from winter cereals, it is important that the crops are seeded in time (ideally between August 25 to September 10) and the varieties grown are not only high yielding but are also tested and adopted to the NWO agro-climatic conditions. Research at TBARS Thunder Bay (www.tbars.net) has revealed that the following new winter cereal varieties are best for our area:
AAC Gateway is a new hard red winter wheat variety (Canada Western Red Winter Wheat; CWRW) with top yields and protein, and an excellent disease package. AAC Gateway has best-in-class lodging resistance with very short (87 cm tall), strong and uniform straw. It is well adapted throughout Western Canada. Averaged over three years (2013-‘15), AAC Gateway produced 6.57 MT grain and 9.15 MT straw yield/ha at TBARS Thunder Bay.
Moats is also a hard red winter wheat, eligible for grades of the CWRW wheat class. It has excellent stem and leaf rust resistance and higher grain yield and protein concentration than CDC Buteo. Its grain yield is similar to the high-yielding cultivar, CDC Falcon, a suitable combination of grain quality, rust resistance and yield make. Moats widely adapt in the winter wheat production area of western Canada. At TBARS, its three years (2013-‘15) average grain and straw yields were 6.76 and 8.75 MT/ha. Its plant height was 103cm.
Among the Ontario hard red winter wheat varieties, Keldin with a plant height of 81cm gave the highest grain (6.02 MT/ha) and straw yields (6.33 MT/ha) at TBARS over a three-year period (2013-‘15).
Winter Rye (more winter-hardy than winter wheat):
Hazlet is a relatively new variety of fall rye with large kernels, improved test weight, high grain yield, strong straw and excellent winter hardiness. It is well adapted to the Canadian prairies and is suitable for feed, food and industrial uses. Hazlet with a plant height of 125 cm didn’t lodge and recorded a grain yield of 8.81 MT/ha and a straw yield of 9.30 MT/ha at TBARS (2013-15).
Guttino is reported to be extremely high yielding, winter hardy, fall hybrid rye variety that is widely adapted to Western Canada. It’s expected end use will be for baking and distilling, feed grain, conserved forage, grazing and potentially for ethanol and fibre production. Guttino had the highest falling number of all the lines in Western Co-op Trials. At TBARS (2013-‘15), it grew to an average height of 118 cm and produced grain and straw yields of 8.97 and 8.38 MT/ha, respectively.
Brasetto is the first viable hybrid winter rye introduced to Western Canada. It featured very high yield, approximately 20 to 25 per cent better than old varieties and proved better in winter hardiness than other winter crops. Brasetto exhibited a significantly higher falling number than old varieties, making it even more valuable for baking and distilling. Averaged over three years (2013-‘15), it gave 8.36 MT grain and 8.0 MT straw yield/ha at TBARS. Its average plant height was 121cm.
Should ergot be a concern in winter rye? Winter rye could have higher infection of ergot than the other winter cereals. Observations at TBARS revealed that Hazlet did show some ergot, whereas Guttino and Brasetto appeared to be free of ergot. Two nutrients that help minimizing ergot in cereals are copper and boron that could be soil applied @ 5 kg Cu/ha @ 1 kg B/ha. Since ergot grains are lighter than normal, high fan speed will help flushing the ergot infested grains at the time of combining. It may be important for our producers to know that the Canada Malting Company was interested in the type of grain quality we had from our winter rye variety trial at TBARS.
Fridge is adapted to all cereal growing areas of the prairies. It has field resistance to leaf and stem rust and excellent lodging resistance. It usually matures early enough to escape Fusarium Head Blight. Winter survival is best when planted during the optimum seeding window. It is primarily a forage variety; hence we didn’t test it for grain yield at TBARS. Average forage dry matter yield (2013-‘15) from Fridge at TBARS was 2.45 MT/ha as compared to 2.72 MT/ha from Hazlet rye and 2.56 from CDC Falcon wheat. Reported grain yields from triticale in western Canada are 60-90 bu/acre.
Fertilizer requirements and production practices of winter rye and triticale are the same as that for winter wheat. For varieties other than those mentioned in this article, refer to TBARS Annual Report 2015.