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The Cropwalker - Wheat Management Edition - Fall 2020 Seed Selection

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Fall 2020 Seed Selection for Winter Wheat

This topic deserved it's own newsletter, so here it is. Thank you to those in the industry that have put time and effort into ensuring Ontario has a quality and profitable wheat crop to market. A summary of top genetics and a few management tips in one place.

Largest Self-Induced Yield Limiting Factors

In no particular order.

1.    Seeding Date.

2.   Lack of starter phosphorus fertilizer. Soil testing is an imperfect science and cannot account for all weather conditions or soil fertility scenarios. Starter phosphorus puts a floor under your yield potential.

3.   Uneven spreading of previous crop (soybean) residue when trying to no-till wheat.

4.   Improper drill maintenance, leading to an open seed trench and hair pinning and in some situations’ uneven depth control.

5.   Shallow planting leads to heaving, open seed trench. (I like to see 1.5" inches, when this occurs on the soils I work with, I see less winterkill/heaving in the spring).

6.   Use of improper seed rate for the time of year/yield potential. The plant will put out less tillers if you have adequate seed. Tiller heads contribute less to yield than main heads in winter wheat, out of everything you do to maximize yield potential in wheat, getting enough seed on is mission critical (adjust based on planting date!).

Fall 2020 Variety Summary

A summary of current market offerings for fall 2020. Focus is on new genetics.

For most wheat classes, you can essentially divide what suppliers have into two, maybe three categories. The first two are what I would call wheat for typical management and are subdivided for winter survival purposes into genetics for poorly drained or well drained soils. From my experience, the poorly drained wheat genetics tends to tiller more in the spring, to make up for plant stand mortality.  Under normal conditions where higher levels of stand mortality are not a concern, these tillers tend to be a hindrance, and lead to increased lodging.

A third category would be those looking for a wheat that responds to high levels of management.

Soft White

Nothing new for the 2021 season in the soft white category. Most common varieties by supplier.


Ava (awnless) - Excellent yielding, sprout resistant relative to other SWW varieties. Sound agronomics that responds to slightly higher seeding rates.


25W38 (awned) – Excellent lodging score with strong disease package. Short variety.


AC Mountain - High yields, good quality and excellent tolerance to barley yellow dwarf virus.

Soft Red


B654SRW (awnless) – best adapted to areas 1 and 2, medium tall plant, excellent winter survival and stripe rust resistance. Early maturity and stable yields across multiple years. Responds to intensive management. Try this variety if you have been happy with Branson in the past.

Branson (awnless) – adapted to all areas, short to medium tall plant. Has been a standard on many farms that have grown SRW in the past.

DS572SRW (awned) – a mid to full maturity wheat, adapted to zones 1 to 3. if you have grown Emmit in the past, this is its replacement. Excellent winter survival, seed, and test weight. Largest seed out of all varieties in the Brevant lineup.

B743SRW (awnless) – adapted to all areas, medium tall plant, Moderate resistance for fusarium. Mid to late maturity. Plan on a split app N or growth regulator if pushing N rates. Has stronger fusarium tolerance and overall leaf disease ratings than B654SRW/Branson. Most dealers are leaning towards B654 or DS572 to meet the bulk of situations.

C&M Seeds

Blaze (awned) – Excellent yields with great winter survival. FHB1 gene (prevents secondary infection) for excellent fusarium tolerance. Strong stripe rust. Small seeded for seed cost savings. Medium plant height with great standability and lots of straw. If you are an organic grower, look for this one (due to strong fusarium tolerance). Well suited to all soil types and regions.

Hilliard (awned) – C&M is recommending this racehorse on high fertility and intensive management farms. It has very fast emergence with an excellent disease package. Short plant height with great standability. Lots of straw, expected to respond to intensive management. Position on loam and clay loam soils in areas 1 and 2.

Cruze (awned) – Has done traditionally done very well in area 1. Responds very well to management. If pushing N rates, consider split N application or a growth regulator to keep it straight. With aggressive tillering, position on clay, clay-loam, and loam soils in area 1 and 2.

CM614 (awnless) – Continues to be a veteran performer on marginal soils. Strong tillering capacity, with thick bright straw, and excellent winter survival. Best pick for those tough clay soils. Watch population with early planting, and/or strong fertility, as proper management is required to prevent lodging. Listed as being suitable for all of Ontario on all soil types (I switch to other genetics on clay-loam or loam soils with rich soil tests/history of manure).


25R74 (awned) – 25R40 performance with stronger fusarium tolerance; shorter; more likely to respond to late season management for growers wanting to manage with multiple passes. Use typical seeding rates based upon calendar date and ground conditions.

25R61 (awned) – 25R40 performance with stronger fusarium tolerance; taller. Less responsive to intensive management than 25R74. Use typical seeding rates based upon calendar date and ground conditions.

Please note that R61 is rated moderately resistant, and R72 is rated moderately susceptible in the OCCC trials for fusarium tolerance. R40 has a highly susceptible rating in the trials.

Continue to have; 25R46 (awned), 25R40 (awned), 25R34 (awned).


Secan members have offered the following the past few years.

Emperor (awnless) - Average heading date and good milling quality. Medium to tall plant height with good standability and straw yields. Solid choice for producers who are looking for more straw than is produced by shorter statured winter wheat varieties on the market.

Secord (awned) - Strong yield potential. Has a medium plant height, good stripe rust tolerance, acceptable winter survival, and adaptability to all winter wheat production areas of Ontario.

If Winter Barley is on your radar, Secan is working on bring new genetics to the field in this market class. Stay tuned.

Snobelen Farms/Bramhill Seeds

Marker (awnless) – Consistently top yield performer. Responds very well to intensive management. Highest rating for FHB resistance. Earlier heading. Small seed for seed cost savings.

Measure (awned) – Excellent test weight, relatively new with best DON rating score in provincial trials. Earlier heading date, with strong test weight and medium plant height. Strong leaf disease package.

Hard Red

C&M Seeds

C&M positions both Adrianus and Pro81 as having yields comparable to soft red wheats, while maintaining a stronger protein profile than Priesley.

Adrianus (awned) – It is Priesley with awns and stronger protein. Clean, short, and stands well. If you have grown Priesley and are looking for the next generation of Hard Red, consider Adrianus. Suitable for all soil types.

Pro 81 (awned) – If you have grown Gallus in the past, consider Pro 81. It has a strong leaf disease package, and it looks like Gallus, but yields more! Taller than Adrianus, with aggressive tillering. Rate as suitable for all soil types.

Priesley (awnless) – Combines well, a top performer in the HRW line up, will run with top SRW performers. Stands very well, have yet to see it go flat, even with 200 lbs. N/ac. Initial data suggests it will not respond to growth regulators. Need to intensively manage N & S for protein. Can deliver to any elevator, provided you use a seed declaration form. Unable to save seed, due to special consideration registration.

Gallus (awned) – Consistent yielder, year in/year out. Candidate for growth regulator. In the C&M lineup if you want to grow a hard red that has proven yield and protein content, this is it. Suitable for area 2 and 3.

Lexington (awned) – Medium height. Similar plant to Gallus, 2018 area III trials rate it better for winter survival and straw yields. Can have slightly better protein than Gallus. Impressive plant with large, plump kernels. Possibly a good fit if you have grown Princeton or Harvard in the past. Suitable for area 2 and 3.

Hybrid Rye

C&M continues to offer Brasetto Hybrid Rye. This hybrid is suitable for sandy or lighter soil textures where having adequate moisture is a concern for for winter wheat. End users like the consistency and high-quality grain while providing strong tillering and plant health for those growing it.

Winter Wheat - Unsure on your area?

Ontario Cereals Crop Committee Test Area Map below.

Source: https://www.gocereals.ca/performance.php