Dr. Romulo Lollato with Wheat Update after Recent Ice Storm

(Dr. Romulo Lollato) The week of January 10th through January 16th brought to most Kansas producers an ice storm, which gets producers concerned with possible consequences of the ice storm to the wheat crop. Now, was the ice present for a long enough period of time for the crop to suffer any damage? And the answer to that is probably not. Generally some previous research has shown that we need a minimum of about 10 days or so of ice-covered surfaces for the crop to start seeing any damage. For most of Kansas, the ice was gone within about a couple of days or so which wouldn’t really result in a long enough period of time for the wheat crop to suffer any damage. Also, the consequence of ice to the wheat crop is going to depend on several conditions that are field-specific. For example, a field like this one behind me that has very little residue, it might be more exposed to those conditions because there will be no residue to trap pockets of air inside it. Now, if it is a situation with a heavier residue then we’ll have pockets of oxygen within that residue that may allow the wheat to be under a nice cover for as long as about 40 days or so without suffering any consequences. So really for Kansas wheat, we should not see any damage from this recent ice storm. In fact, we might see a benefit for the crop for a few different reasons. First, if we look within the state we got anywhere from a minimum of about half an inch of precipitation out in northwest Kansas and most of the northern part of the state, all the way to about 3 inches of precipitation in south central and parts of southwest Kansas. That precipitation should be more than enough for the wheat crop to make it through the winter for most cases as our water use for the crop right now is very limited. In regions that got as much as three inches of precipitation, in fact, we should be safe even for about early spring. Maybe up to standard elongation when water use of wheat starts to go up, starts to increase again and then we’ll definitely need some more precipitation. But the overall effects of this recent storm should actually be more positive than negative for the wheat crop due to the moisture that it brought.

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