- Author: Caroline Brady, Waterfowl Programs Supervisor, California Waterfowl
- Contributor: Mark Lundy
Winter grains like wheat and triticale are incredibly attractive to nesting ducks. Winter grains are seeded in the fall and grow throughout the winter; by nesting season, a dense stand of winter grains near a planted rice field looks like a great nesting location with brood-rearing habitat just a waddle away. Several studies have found ducks may favor winter planted grains over natural uplands when they're available, and winter grains in rice country can produce far higher mallard nest densities and nest survival than anything in the Prairie Pothole Region.
Unfortunately, some winter grains like wheat have been declining along with its poor market price, and the Sacramento Valley's once robust mallard population is declining...