Western Canadian farmers interested in seeding winter wheat this fall should look into grower incentive programs that could help reduce input costs by $4 to $8 per acre.
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) offers a $4 per acre incentive to growers living in areas designated as prime for duck nesting habitat. Viterra is offering product incentives (worth about $4 to $5 per acre) to producers growing winter wheat in any part of Western Canada.
DUC has identified certain rural municipalities across Western Canada that are particularly valuable in terms of duck nesting sites. Winter wheat eliminates or reduces spring field operation, which reduces the risk of mechanical damage of duck nesting sites at a critical time of the year. Second, winter wheat provides good cover to help protect duck nests from predators.
DUC says in areas where winter wheat is grown they find on average one duck nest for every 30 acres of winter wheat, whereas on spring wheat that changes to about one nest on every 300 acres.
Viterra joins DUC and Bayer CropScience in a partnership to support the Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action Initiative. Bayer has committed $20 million toward winter wheat and environmental research and promotion over the next five years.
“The goal is to see winter wheat acres rise to two million per year in that period,” says Paul Thiel, industry relations and project manager for Bayer CropScience in Calgary.
Bayer CropScience Canada got involved in this project because its parent company, Bayer AG in Germany, wants to see its divisions invest more in “sustainability,” Thiel says. He adds that it could be good business for Bayer, too. “In working with Viterra and Ducks Unlimited, we’re hopeful that our products will be positioned preferably.”
Goals of the sustainability initiative are to develop new winter wheat varieties adapted to Prairie climate, promote improvements and research in agronomic practices, and conduct waterfowl and environmental research to ensure a sustainable habitat and production system.
For more details on these programs, see your nearest Viterra outlet. To contact DUC, call 1-866-479-3825 in Alberta; 1-866-252-3825 in Saskatchewan; or 1-866-251-3825 in Manitoba. Also try www.wintercereals.ca.
Lee Hart and Jay Whetter.