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Winter Wheat Frost Damage

Andy Bailey

After cold temperatures both last week and so far this week I wanted to touch on potential frost damage on winter wheat.  Looking at wheat fields last week in North Central Indiana we saw some leaf damage on the tips of upper leaves.  With most of the wheat in the floret formation stages (Weekes 6-8) there shouldn’t be much concern as most of the damage was observed on upper leaf tissues.  There are a couple things to observe if you suspect frost damage.  First observe the head and the stem. If the head is green and looks healthy with no signs of damage there should be minimal damage, signs of trouble include heads that are white in color or poor grain set.  A kinked stem is also a sign of frost damage but can also be a sign of low plant fertility.

The wheat that we saw last week appears not to be badly damaged, but should continue to be monitored as there is still time to switch crops this early in the growing season.

This article was written by Farm Clinic for questions and service information contact Andrew Bailey by phone: (765) 659-1783.