Cold weather expected to affect wheat
The sudden sharp drop in temperatures across Kansas during the week of Nov. 10 to 15 will cause the wheat crop to go into dormancy, according to Jim Shroyer, K-State Research and Extension crop production specialist at Manhattan.
Whether the intense cold spell has injured the wheat depends on several factors, Shroyer said.
The moisture level in the topsoil is important. Soil moisture was generally good going into October, but the warm temperatures in October allowed the wheat to grow and put on excessive amounts of top growth, which dried out the soil.
Plants that showed drought stress are more likely to be injured. Dry soils get colder more easily than wet soils.
Another important factor is whether the wheat had time to become properly cold hardened. Hopefully, there may have been enough cold nights in October and early November to allow the wheat to develop cold hardiness.
Shroyer said the extent of the unusually large and rapid drop in temperatures from well above normal to well below normal is a concern. Without cold hardiness, the wheat is susceptible to injury.
“We likely won’t know for sure about cold injury until next spring as the wheat comes out of dormancy,” he said.
The deciding factor will be whether the crown below the soil surface remains alive. Having a well-developed secondary root system will help the plants survive, Shroyer said.
Last modified Nov. 19, 2014