The Great Plains’ winter wheat crop, already suffering from drought, could take another hit this week.
Temperatures from western Kansas to northern Texas are expected to hit the low-to-mid 20’s tonight. Kansas State University Extension wheat specialist Jim Shroyer says that could bring more damage to the already-battered wheat crop.
“Obviously, in Texas and Oklahoma, they’re further ahead than we are here—but they got dinged a couple of weeks ago when it go so chilly,” Shroyer says. “So if it gets down into the low 20’s, that could be significant.”
In fact, Shroyer says some western Kansas wheat growers may actually welcome the freeze to put the crop out of its misery.
“I think a lot of producers are hoping that it gets cold enough, long enough, that it kills what little they have –so then they can make the decision to tear it up and go to another crop, if we get the moisture from this point on.”
Wheat is more susceptible to freeze damage once it reaches the jointing stage. Kansas reports that 22% of their wheat is in the jointing stage, with Oklahoma at 59% jointed.