By Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Despite recent weather, spring is almost here. Now is the best time to assess how successfully winter wheat has survived. To test for winter survival in early spring, remove a few plants from the field on a warm day. Choose plants at random from various areas of the field.
Place the crowns in a moist, warm environment where they get exposed to light for at least part of the day. Don’t let the crowns dry out. Severely damaged crowns will turn brown while healthy tissue remains white. At room temperature, healthy crowns should produce new, white roots and green leaves in a few days.
Don’t be too hasty to write off a crop that looks thin; some plants take longer to start growing in the spring. A thin, even stand may still out-produce a reseeded crop. The true sign of winter survivability is new root grown from the crown.
For more information about assessing this year’s crop, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).