The California Waterfowl Association (CWA) is still soliciting applications for their Delayed Wheat Harvest Incentive Program, which incentivizes the delayed harvest of winter planted cereal grains like wheat and triticale for the benefit of nesting waterfowl. The application deadline is Monday, May 2, 2022.
In the Sacramento Valley, cultivated Ricelands act much like brood-rearing wetlands. Similarly, cereal grains provide vegetative cover for nesting ducks in lieu of natural upland habitat. But cereal grains can act as a source – or a sink – for waterfowl production, depending on timing of harvest. In most years, the wildlife-agriculture conflict occurs in May and June, when the harvest of small grains takes place simultaneously with peak waterfowl hatch, resulting in complete destruction of active nests and/or mortality of hens struck by farm implements while on the nest.
To mitigate this, CWA offers farmers two alternatives. The first option is the Delayed Wheat Program, which provides incentive payments of $30 – $40/acre for growers to delay grain harvest until July 1 – 15, allowing nests to hatch safely. The second option is the Egg Salvage Program, which facilitates the removal and transportation of duck eggs from ag fields to federally permitted hatcheries to avoid potential destruction by normal farming activities.
To apply for the Delayed Wheat Program please visit the CWA website at calwaterfowl.org/delayed-wheat-harvest-applications