Weekend freeze damage to winter wheat seen as minimal

by Ron Sterk
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KANSAS CITY — There were mixed views as to the amount of damage, if any, that may have been incurred by hard red winter wheat from weekend sub-freezing temperatures across western portions of the southern Plains.

Based on lower wheat futures prices overnight and early March 25, including hard red winter wheat futures traded in Kansas City, the trade appeared to see any damage as minimal from the weekend temperatures. Wheat futures prices were about 4c a bu lower at 9:00 a.m. Central Time in Kansas City, Chicago and Minneapolis.

Temperatures dropped into the low 20s across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and into the teens in western Kansas and eastern Colorado, according to the National Weather Service. There was speculation that damage may have occurred to wheat in the southern Texas panhandle and south into minor production areas of West Texas, where some wheat had progressed into the joint and boot stages. But most areas to the north had received beneficial snow cover or wheat was not yet developed enough to be damaged. Wheat still was dormant further north. Temperatures remained warm enough in eastern portions of the hard red winter wheat belt that no damage should have occurred, trade sources and meteorologists said.

There likely was more benefit than damage from the rain and snow, with snowfall amounts of eight inches to more than a foot that fell across the still-dry region late last week.

Weekly crop updates with winter wheat condition ratings will be issued by Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas after 3:00 p.m. Central Time on March 25, although freeze damage, if any, may not be immediately apparent.

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