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Improved resilience of Ontario’s winter wheat
Cold temperatures limit the production of winter wheat in regions of northern and eastern Ontario, where winter weather conditions can be especially harsh. Due to high rates of winterkill, winter wheat is not commonly grown on farms in these regions.
That gap in production is the challenge facing Professor Ashraf Tubeileh, cropping systems agronomist at the University of Guelph Kemptville Campus.
Throughout the next three growing seasons, Tubeileh will treat wheat plants with various chemical and fertilizer treatments, hoping to improve their resistance to cold temperatures. He is working with Scott Banks from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association; and the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station.
In addition to potential yield benefits, there is an environmental angle to his work as well. Introducing winter wheat into crop rotations — whether it is grown for grain or as a cover crop — can control erosion, reduce nitrogen leaching into groundwater, help disrupt plant disease cycles, and improve overall soil structure.
This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial- territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario. Funding for this project is also provided by Grain Farmers of Ontario. •
Research Roundup is provided by members of SPARK (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) at the University of Guelph’s Office of Research. For more information, contact a SPARK writer at 519-824-4120, ext. 52667.