U.S. winter wheat growers assess recent frost damage

Details at the Western Producer:

winter wheat frost

A struggling U.S. winter wheat crop suffered what could be a serious blow last week when temperatures dropped below freezing for long stretches twice in 48 hours in large portions of the southern plains.

“There’s a pretty widespread area where plants look really bad right now because of that freeze event,” said Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of the Kansas Wheat Commission.

The damage is most severe in places like western Kansas where the crop was already stressed due to a prolonged winter drought.

Gilpin said crops were frozen in Kansas, eastern Colorado, Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle by temperatures that dropped below -7 C in some areas.

“Certainly we lost some wheat and lost bushels,” he said.

Although it is early to be attaching a number to the combined drought and freeze damage, Gilpin wouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. hard red winter wheat crop ends up 25 percent smaller than last year’s 27.3 million tonne harvest.

The true level of damage will not be known, until it warms up. This is just weather, it become climate if it happens year after year.  This is just an April frost, it will be of real concern if is comes in June. Stay Tuned.

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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5 Responses to U.S. winter wheat growers assess recent frost damage

  1. David says:

    Winter wheat is fairly hardy so this is rather unusual especially this late in the year. I am more worried about the spring crops in the upper mid west and Canada right now. Its to cold to wet and getting to late in the season to plant. Have the famines started we just don’t know it yet. Similar to what my grandfather used to tell me we were broke in the 1920s we just didnt know it yet.

  2. Sean says:

    And as David says, the Canadians are waiting for the snow to melt, http://www.agweek.com/event/article/id/20789/

  3. The coldest start ever to the wheat-growing season in Kansas and freezing weather across the southern Great Plains are compounding damage to US crops already hurt by the worst drought since the 1930s.

    “I’m going to assume 75 percent of my wheat froze” when temperatures dropped as low as 13 degrees Fahrenheit (-11C) on 10 April, said Gary Millershaski.

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