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General purpose and soft wheat

Grow higher yielding wheat varieties to target the feed market

With price spreads between feed wheat and Hard Red Spring wheat often very narrow, it may pay to grow higher yielding wheat varieties and target the feed market. General purpose and soft wheat can yield 25 to 30 per cent more than an HRSW.

We have been growing Pasteur GP wheat on both irrigation and dryland with exceptional results in both cases. Pasteur is a variety from Europe with very good quality, visually similar to a HRSW. It can be difficult to get high protein on irrigation but on dryland the protein can be high enough to ship into the U.S. spring wheat market.

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Soft wheat is becoming more popular for silage and feed in our area with Sadash being the main variety. A new variety called Chiffon soft wheat is now available. It would be a good fit for those looking to replace their current soft wheat variety with a higher yielding one. Chiffon would be a great fit for silage or for grain with wide leaves and large heads.

The tables below show my numbers for irrigated land, comparing December 2014 with August 2015 (when there was harvest selling pressure on feed wheat). Notice that the costs are higher on GP/ Soft wheat due to higher fertility and increased freight costs per acre. Discounted wheat assumes a downgrading factor. When all costs, including trucking, are included, our net return on GP wheat was 104 per cent of No. 1 wheat in early December, and 124 per cent in early August.

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On non-irrigated land, GP wheat sold in Canada yielded 86 per cent of No. 1 wheat in December and 107 per cent in August.

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Greg Stamp is a Southern Alberta farmer. Follow him on Twitter at @stampgreg, or visit stampseeds.com.

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