Forecasters See Low Winterkill Risk for Wheat

Meteorologists say that fallen snow should protect much winter wheat from the cold air ready to move into U.S. winter wheat areas.

Published on: Jan 10, 2007

The same snowfall that has knocked out utilities and stranded cattle in the High Plains may be a blessing in disguise for wheat growers. Meteorologists say much of the winter wheat in the parts of Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado that have three to 12 inches of snow on the ground will be protected by the snow when forecasted below-zero temperatures descend on the region this weekend.

More snow might fall across the central U.S. this weekend, helping to protect winter wheat from winterkill.

"If it is going to get cold enough to make you think of winterkill, there's going to be snow on the ground," says T-Storm meteorologist Mike Tannura in a Dow Jones release.

Winterkill affects plants when extreme cold damages plant tissues. Despite the predicted chilly temperatures, Cropcast Agricultural Weather has the near-term risk of winter wheat damage at "minimal."

Some areas with less snow, such as parts of the Dakotas and central Kansas, may still be affected by winterkill if temperatures get low enough.