Winter Wheat Escapes Frost Damage

Extension service notes no freeze damage to winter wheat, warns of delayed corn planting costs.

Published on: May 20, 2013

Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted fields and found that winter wheat acres escaped damage from last frost.

According to Scheidt, wheat is in the flag leaf to early boot stage. No freeze damage to the wheat head was seen. Temporary phosphorus deficiency, identified by purpling on leaf tips, was seen due to cold weather.

"Lodging is a concern now. If the wheat is unable to stand most of the way back up, it could result in up to a 50% yield loss if wheat is in the boot stage," said Scheidt. "If the stem has been broken below the growing point due to the weight of the snow, those plants will be a total loss if they are in the flag leaf or boot stage. Less mature wheat is more likely to recover."

According to Scheidt, wheat is in the flag leaf to early boot stage. No freeze damage to the wheat head was seen. Temporary phosphorus deficiency, identified by purpling on leaf tips, was seen due to cold weather.
According to Scheidt, wheat is in the flag leaf to early boot stage. No freeze damage to the wheat head was seen. Temporary phosphorus deficiency, identified by purpling on leaf tips, was seen due to cold weather.

Costly switch

Scheidt warns anyone thinking about switching from corn to soybeans, that costs and benefits of switching may not prove wise until planting is delayed until the end of May.

"If corn is planted, do not switch to a shorter maturity date variety. Maturity levels will move faster with increasing temperatures. Switching to an earlier maturing variety may result in corn pollinating too soon," said Scheidt.

Delayed planting of corn causes concern for black cutworm, which clip the corn plants off below or above soil level. If the corn plant is cut off at soil level, the growing point may have been damaged and corn may not be able to recover.

If 2 to 3 percent of plants are damaged at or below soil level, or if 6 to 8 percent of plants are damaged above soil level, an insecticide is justified. A medium rate of Mustang Max or Warrior II is recommended.

"Cold weather should not damage corn because the growing point is still protected; when corn reaches 12" then a concern for frost damage may be possible," said Scheidt.

Source:  MU Extension