In Canada, winter wheat must survive air temperatures as low as -30oC.
Snow cover acts as a thermal blanket reducing the direct exposure to
chilling air temperatures. In a joint Can/UK wheat project we measured
vegetative cover (VC) on 88 different winter wheat varieties in the fall
up to snow cover and directly after the snow melted in the spring.
Comparing the VC pre- and post-winter provided a direct measure of
winter hardiness. While the majority of the wheat cultivars from the UK
experienced greater winter kill than the Canadian lines, there were
still some with comparable hardiness. Fall and spring growth rates were
determined and the UK lines had similar or greater fall growth rates
than Canadian lines but lower spring growth rates. Phenomic determined
hardiness was correlated to visual ratings and harvest yield.