Manitoba Agriculture is expecting to see a good winter wheat crop this year.

Farm Production Extension Specialist Rejean Picard says the crop went into winter with good crown reserves, adding the heavy snow cover provided excellent insulation.

He notes they had equipment set-up over the winter to monitor the situation.

"We did have winter weather stations setup temporarily in winter wheat fields last winter and we could monitor the temperature of the crown level which was always above the temperature that would have potentially caused some damage," said Picard. "It looks like it should be a good recovery this spring."

Picard says that temperatures need to reach nine degrees Celsius or above before winter wheat starts to generate new roots, adding it's still a little bit too early for that to happen. He notes you can test the plant by cutting off the roots and shoots and putting the crown in water to see if it will start to grow.

Applying nitrogen in the spring is recommended to help stimulate recovery and regrowth of the plant.

The Western Winter Wheat Initiative estimates there was less than 200,000 acres of winter wheat planted in Manitoba last fall, which is down significantly from years past.

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