Seeding spring wheat early has the potential to increase yield, improve grain quality, and result in earlier maturity. Early seeding may allow wheat to avoid/miss the damage caused by wheat midge and Fusarium head blight; be better suited to defend against weed competition, allowing for less pesticide usage; and be harvested earlier and at a higher grade due to the reduced risk of late season frost events and damp weather at harvest.
Performed across seven sites throughout Alberta, the ultra-early wheat trial was designed to assess whether there is an advantage to seeding spring wheat ahead of schedule. By seeding wheat early when soil temperatures range 2-6 Celsius, rather than the norm of 10-12 Celsius, might yield increase? Further, are test weight and protein values at all affected? This experiment compares wheat growth subject to three levels of differentiation: date planted, crop variety, and seeding rate. On two dates, early and normal (where normal refers to when local farmers will commonly seed their spring wheat), two varieties of wheat, AAC Brandon and AAC Connery, were sown at rates of 19, 28, and 37 seed/sq. ft., respectively. The experiment followed a complete randomized block design having treatments replicated four times.