Managing snow to extend the areal range of winter wheat production

TitleManaging snow to extend the areal range of winter wheat production
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1986
AuthorsSteppuhn, H., and Nicholaichuk W.
Conference Name54th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 54th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1986
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationPhoenix, Arizona
KeywordsChemical fallow, Grass barriers, Snow management, Snowcover enhancement, Winter wheat survival

Snow possesses excellent insulative properties, its use in the construction of igloos is legend, its cold-temperature protection for over-wintering crops well known, indeed, in climates where winter air temperatures commonly dip below -20 degrees C, the occurrence, persistence and uniformity of snowcovers dictate the areal range within which winter wheat can be profitably produced. In this study, snow management practiced over a five-year period extended the range of winter wheat into an area where the crop traditionally could not always survive the winter. Two management techniques were tested; tall wheatgrass barriers for annual cropping and chemical fallow for biennial production. Although the winters of 1983-84 and 1984-85 proved extra difficult for the survival of many overwintering crops, wheat grown under snow management wintered well and yielded satisfactory economic crops. This test demonstrated the merits of snowcover enhancement for winter wheat survival in a cold climate and the extension of wheat production into regions hitherto marginal.