Fall establishment and winter survival are key for winter wheat to reach its potential in Minnesota. Yield potential of winter wheat is higher than spring wheat, especially in the southern half of the state. Ideally, the winter wheat crop will have started to tiller in the fall, prior to freezing temperatures that force dormancy. Secondly, winter survival greatly improves if the crop does not break dormancy during a mid-winter thaw. No-till production practices help maintain snow cover, thereby improving winter survival. A stubble height of 4 to 6 inches is ideal but even shorter soybean stubble provides some protection.
The results of the variety performance evaluations are summarized in Tables 1 through 3. The winter wheat performance trials were conducted near Lamberton, Le Center and St. Paul in 2020. The past three growing seasons have been more challenging when compared to the previous three years. The extremely wet fall of 2019 resulted in the trial near Roseau not being seeded while the trial near Crookston was abandoned due to severe spring flooding. The trial near Becker, suffered severe drought stress and the data is included in this summary as the trial averaged less than 25 bu/acre.