Wheat crop survives below-freezing temperatures

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Wheat producers may fare better than expected from the arctic blast that plunged temperatures into the mid- to upper 20s in early March and threatened the crop across Louisiana.

LSU AgCenter wheat specialist Boyd Padgett said the wheat crop may not have been hit as hard as anticipated in most areas.

“After speaking with others around the state, my gut feeling is we are in pretty good shape overall,” Padgett said.

Freeze injury to wheat varies widely, depending on growth stage at the time of the freeze. Based on recent observations, significant injury to wheat is likely to be low, particularly on later-maturing varieties, he said.

“Plants still in a vegetative growth stage where no heads are exposed can endure cooler temperatures,” Padgett said.

Early-maturing varieties that were at boot stage or starting to head out before the freeze were more susceptible to injury and took a bigger hit, he said.

Freeze injury in wheat is obvious seven to 10 days after a freeze occurs, so producers should know what damage was done to their crop.

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