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Name: Mary J.
Status: student
Age: 14
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 6/25/2003


Question:
In Canada, wheat fields are sewn at the beginning of winter when it is very cold and the seeds are often covered with snow before they germinate. Why is this done?


Replies:
The following should be helpful:

http://www.usask.ca/agriculture/plantsci/winter_cereals/

Anthony Brach, Ph.D


I am not an agriculture expert, but I can make an educated guess. Wheat, like all our important cereal grains, is a grass. Grasses are adapted for primary growth in either cool or warm seasons. Most North American tall prairie grasses, for example, are warm season grasses, that begin growth late in spring, thrive in the heat of summer, and produce seed late in the season. Most lawn grasses, on the other hand, are cool season grasses that often remain green over winter, and if left to grow without mowing or watering, will produce seeds in early summer and go dormant in the heat of summer (thus the need for watering lawns). I guess from this that winter wheat is derived from a cool season grass. It is well adapted to the short growing seasons in northern regions, since it is ready for harvest by mid-summer. In some more southern areas "spring wheat" is sometimes grown, sown in spring and harvested later in summer.

J. Elliott



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