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5 Things You Should Know: Scouting Wheat After Freeze Events

Posted By Doane Advisory Services | March 20, 2017 8:13 PM CDT

Source by Margy Ecklekamp

  1. Each field needs your attention. Often, the temperature recorded by the nearest weather station or at your house may not quite reflect the actual temperature that the wheat canopy experienced. Elevation, topography and other factors influence temperature, so every field needs to be monitored.  
  2. No two freezes are alike. Plant growth stage, plant moisture content, duration of exposure, wind, precipitation, soil moisture content, and more are all dynamic factors in the effect of a freeze event.
  3. Growth stage is a driving factor in how susceptible a crop is.  According to David Marburger at Oklahoma State University, “the susceptibility and temperature threshold to freeze injury steadily increases as the spring progresses from jointing to heading and flowering. Earlier maturing varieties may be injured more from these recent freeze events than later maturing varieties because they are likely more advanced.”
  4. Duration matters more than temperature. It’s prolonged exposure to freezing that causes much more injury to a wheat crop than only brief exposure to the same temperature.
  5. Now may be the time to scout for damage. Sometimes it requires patience and waiting before the full extent of the damage is known. Marburger says, “If warm temperatures return quickly, you should still wait about 5-7 days after the freeze event before determining the injury. If temperatures remain cool, it may take 10-14 days before the extent of the injury can be fully assessed.

For more on types of wheat damage and what to scout for, click here for a resource from Kansas State University.