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Indiana Crops Unscathed by April Cold Snap


Indiana’s winter wheat, forage, and fruit crops apparently survived the unusually cold weather earlier this month with little or no severe damage. “I haven’t heard anything at all in terms of damage,” said Purdue Extension wheat specialist Shaun Casteel. The crop has been progressing normally, he said, and “you should be smelling those ripe wheat fields.”

Keith Johnson, Extension forage specialist, said he noticed “a little” freeze burn on some alfalfa plants in Tippecanoe County, but had not heard any reports of significant damage to crops in other parts of the state. “There certainly hasn’t been anything like a loss of stand,” Johnson said. “And enough time has passed that if there had been significant plant injury, it would have been noticeable by now.” Overnight temperatures plunged well below the freezing mark throughout Indiana during a 10-day cold snap April 2-12, raising fears of crop loss, especially in the southern part of the state where fruit trees had started to bud after an unusually mild March.

Experts said significant freeze damage would have been apparent within a week or 10 days, but as of April 20, Extension educators in southern counties reported few problems. “I don’t think the freeze hit us too bad,” said David Osborne, Extension educator in Ripley County. “Some of the early budding fruit trees might have got dinged a little.” Amanda Mosiman, Extension educator in Warrick County, said she noticed “a little bit of damage” to fruit trees from the freeze, but nothing severe enough to reduce yield.

After a frigid start to April, temperatures rebounded quickly and were at or above seasonal averages for the past week and a half, according to the Indiana State Climate Office based at Purdue. State climatologists said the warmup could last through the rest of the month, providing good conditions for planting in much of the state.