Kansas Evades Winter Wheat Damage Following Ice Storm

January 25, 2017 10:51 AM

Many Kansas wheat growers are continuing to scout their winter wheat crops, but it appears their fields may have escaped serious damage from a recent ice storm.

Between Jan. 10 to Jan. 16, many parts of Kansas were hit by an ice storm, and the crop had little snow cover to offer protection.

Farmers were wondering if the ice on the wheat was on the plant long enough period to sustain damage. Romulo Lollato, a wheat specialist with Kansas State University, doesn’t think that’s the case, and says tillage practices may have helped some fields.

“A field…that has very little residue might be more exposed to those conditions because there will be no residue to trap pockets of air inside it,” said Lollato. “If it’s a no-till situation with heavy residue, we’ll have pockets of oxygen within that residue that may allow the wheat to be under a nice cover for as long as 40 days or so without suffering any consequences.”

Lollato says if anything, the ice will benefit this crop. It provided anywhere from a half inch to three inches of moisture to Kansas, which will give ample moisture to help get the wheat crop into early spring.

65 percent of Kansas is in some level of drought.

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