Rotational effects and optimized plant spatial arrangement for wheat production in Manitoba

Crop Soybean
Start Date2017
End Date2021
Principal InvestigatorGulden, Rob, University of Manitoba
MPSG Financial Support$82,800
Total Project Funding$349,140
External Funding PartnersManitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association
ReportGulden – Spatial Arrangement – MPSG ANNUAL Extension Report 2019

Research Objectives

The objective of this research is to evaluate the performance of cereals in crop rotation with soybean and canola and to develop optimized spatial arrangement practices to maximize wheat productivity while decreasing the effect of weeds and diseases for wheat production. The following key questions will be addressed: 1) What is the effect of including 1 vs. 2 wheat crops in rotation with canola and soybean (i.e., wheat-soybean-canola vs. wheat-soybean-wheat-canola) with different initial weed densities on crop productivity/quality, economic return, disease severity, weed management and herbicide-resistant green foxtail populations? 2) What is the optimum plant density and row spacing combination for modern wheat varieties and does the preceding crop (canola or soybean) affect this?

Project Description

This project seeks to evaluate the importance of wheat in rotation with canola and soybean, and optimize performance and pest management for wheat production in Manitoba with these rotational crops. It will also contribute to improved weed management in conventional and organic production systems. Direct financial benefits from this research will include yield maximization in wheat in a 3 vs. a 4-year rotation by planting at optimum spatial arrangement which will lead to increased yields and a reduced need for in-crop herbicide applications while avoiding the risks such as crop lodging. Planting at optimum densities for specific row spacing and specific production systems will benefit wheat producers financially by improving efficiency and maximizing wheat productivity. An exact estimate of this is difficult to provide, although even a small increase in productivity/reduction in cost over the large wheat growing area of Manitoba can result in a significant increase in total farm revenue. In conventional production systems, another key benefit of this research that is difficult to estimate in financial value, is a reduction
in the selection pressure for herbicide-resistant weed biotypes. The recommendations of this research will result in reduced weed competition and as a result reduced weed seed production that will not only result in a reduced selection pressure for the development of herbicide resistant biotypes, but also lower weed competition in future crop through lower weed return.