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2009 Was A Tough Year For Southern Alberta Soft Wheat Growers

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Richard Huvenaars of Hays, chairman of the research and production committee for the Alberta Soft Wheat Producers Commission, said estimated soft wheat production was not achieved in 2009.

The low price limited acres, yields were down, and fusarium and mildew caused some downgrading, he said.

He told delegates to the commission’s annual meeting that millers and maltsters are hard pressed to source adequate supplies of good-quality soft wheat for processing. The local feed market also consumed a portion of the soft wheat production.

Huvenaars said some help is on the way. One of the proposals funded by the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund continues to provide information on seeding dates, seeding rates, fertility and water management in various soil zones.

A second project also funded by the development fund will enhance the plant breeding program for soft wheat by Lethbridge Research Centre plant breeder Harpinder Randhawa. That project will focus on industrial and domestic soft wheat and triticale.

He said fusarium was a problem at times in the 2009 growing season when humidity was very high, a condition that promotes the disease. The newer varieties of soft wheat have a moderate resistance to fusarium, he said.

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