Lastly, while we have solid data on winter wheat's benefits to waterfowl in Canada, landscape differences in the United States require us to confirm its benefits here as well. The presence of CRP and large blocks of native prairie provide waterfowl with different nest-site choices and influence the predator community in ways that may result in different impacts in the United States. DU is working with Montana State University to analyze nesting success and nest-site selection over a three-year period. Scientists are also conducting a thorough review of published studies to provide direction for exploring benefits of winter wheat rotation on water, soil, and air quality.
Achieving DU's vision of skies full of waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever requires us to secure sufficient habitat in critical places like the Prairie Pothole Region. Winter wheat is part of that solution along with other alternative nesting covers like CRP and grass crops as well as the most important cover, native prairie. We are fortunate to have a partner like Bayer CropScience to not only promote winter wheat but also share a vision of sustainable land use.
Dr. Steve Adair is director of DU's Great Plains Regional Office in Bismarck, North Dakota.
The Profitability of Winter Wheat
Tell a producer that winter wheat enhances stewardship, and you might get his attention. Tell him that it enhances his bottomline and improves the efficiency of his operation, and he will invite you in for a cup of coffee and a serious visit. While DU and Bayer CropScience are confident winter wheat provides wildlife benefits, we know that to reach our acreage goals it has to provide operational benefits for landowners.
As part of a rotational cropping system, winter wheat spreads the workload between fall and spring plantings. It also reduces weather-related risks by diversifying planting and harvest times. The higher yields of winter wheat allow it to be competitive at the elevator with other spring crops. Many of the investments of Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action are aimed at further enhancing the profitability of winter wheat, which will influence producers' decisions more than any other factor. For more information about this winter wheat partnership in Canada, go to www.ducks.org/winterwheat/canada (PDF), and in the United States, go to: www.ducks.org/winterwheat/USA. For more information about Bayer CropScience, visit www.bayercropscience.com.