Winter weather swept across the High Plains on Friday, April 29, 2005. The storm brought light rains and light to moderate periods of snowfall. The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for the next morning for the western side of Kansas where the crops were more susceptible to injury from low temperatures. Much of the winter wheat crop is in the boot to heading stage (Feekes 10 to 10.2) of development. According to research from Kansas State University in their publication "Spring Freeze Injury To Kansas Wheat," the wheat plants are at risk of suffering serious injury when subjected to temperatures of 28 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of two hours or more.

The area saw temperatures in the range of 26 to 31 degrees on Saturday morning on May 1.

Experience has shown there are many variables that can have an impact as to whether the plants are seriously injured or not. Crop canopy, soil temperature, cloud cover and plant moisture are just a few of the variables that may allow the wheat plants to withstand even lower temperatures. At this time it is too early to tell the full extent of how much the plant may have been damaged by the winter storm and late spring freeze.

If the early planted corn is any indication, there were a number of fields in the emerging to two-leaf stage that froze back to the soil level. It will take a week to 10 days to assess the possible injury to both the winter wheat and corn crop.

Source: Ron O'Hanlon, CPCC-I, CropTalk