Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action is a joint research and education initiative that promotes improving agricultural productivity while maintaining habitat for wildlife by increasing winter wheat acres in the Prairie Pothole Region.
Winter wheat can improve a producer’s operation by increasing profitability while spreading out workload for labor and equipment. At the same time, the fall-planted crop also provides adequate nesting cover for waterfowl because there is little field disturbance during the nesting season.
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The Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action initiative includes:
Working with regional universities to:
• Develop new winter wheat varieties
• Research winter wheat best practices management
More agronomists to provide producers:
• Technical assistance
• Research/demonstration plots and field tours
• Educational materials
Research on waterfowl nesting success in winter wheat
The Prairie Pothole Region is the most important area for waterfowl in North America. More than 70 percent of the continent’s waterfowl population breeds there, and the region is rich with productive agricultural land.
Because winter cereals are planted in the fall, there is far less disturbances in the spring when waterfowl nest. Studies have shown waterfowl have a 24 times higher chance of having hatched nests in winter cereals than in spring-planted cereals. (Source: www.ducks.org/agronomy)
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Winter wheat has some issues to overcome in the heart of spring wheat territory - North Dakota and South Dakota. Growers tell us improved varieties would make them more likely to grow winter wheat.
Here are the winter wheat traits they’re looking for:
• Winter hardiness
• High yield
• Disease resistance
• Improved grain quality
• Shorter straw
The Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action (WCSIA) initiative has entered into agreements with South Dakota State University, North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota to develop new winter wheat varieties that would contain these traits and possibly others.
WCSIA will also cooperate with the universities and private industry on research into the best management practices for growing winter wheat to increase its profitability for growers.
"I hope research will produce varieties that will be more winter hardy and could be seeded later in the fall, perhaps after we harvest our soybeans, after October 1. We know that our plant breeders at SDSU, NDSU, U of M, are quite capable of developing varieties that fit the needs of this area."