Frost is a double-whammy for winter wheat

An ag meteorologist says the below freezing temperatures over the weekend won’t help the drought-stricken winter wheat in the western Corn Belt.

Drew Lerner with World Weather Incorporated says there are preliminary reports of frost damage in Kansas, but it is difficult to determine the extent of damage at the jointed stage of maturity.

“The area we’re most concerned with is the jointed crop in central and northern Kansas and the neighboring areas of Nebraska and Colorado. These crops saw temperatures in the upper teens and 20s on Sunday morning. That would have been cold enough to cause damage.”

Lerner says more will be known when the crop hits reproductive stage. If there is damage, he says the wheat heads won’t fill and the crop won’t perform well. However, he says rain in the forecast through Wednesday could help the situation.

“Putting a lot of rain down on the crop right after a freeze, if it stays cool or mild, it gives the crop a chance to recover.”

Lerner says temperatures dipped down into the mid-20s Monday morning in other areas of the Corn Belt, but the only damage to winter wheat expected in those areas is leaf burn.

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