Recent freezing temperatures may have caused damage to Kentucky’s wheat crop. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will host an emergency wheat freeze damage training to help producers assess potential damage and help them make appropriate management decisions.
The training begins with registration at 8 a.m. CDT Tuesday, March 21 at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center near Princeton. The program starts at 8:30 a.m.
“UK small grain specialists have organized a combined indoor/outdoor program that will address this issue from diagnosis to decision-making,” said John Grove, director of the UKREC.
The state enjoyed a mild winter, which caused a significant amount of wheat to grow at an accelerated pace. Wheat in the jointing stage is damaged by temperatures equal to or below 24 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more.
The temperatures at the Kentucky Mesonet Station in Caldwell County were at or below this threshold for six hours during the night of March 14-15. Temperatures dipped below the mark for nine hours on the night of March 15-16. Morning lows recorded at the same weather station were 20 degrees on March 15 and 18 degrees on March 16.
UK specialists encourage producers to bring whole wheat plant samples from their farm to assess and compare with non-damaged wheat.
“The key is to determine the number of healthy tillers that remain,” said Carrie Knott, UK grain crops specialist. “This will help determine yield potential of the field and ultimately the decision to keep or destroy the crop.”
During this hands-on training, specialists will go over the distinct physical characteristics of freeze damage, including a plant dissection demonstration.
“Specialists will also discuss decision economics, implications of chemical and nitrogen applications to various ‘use or lose’ options – especially wheat grazing/haying potential and impacts to the following corn or soybean crop, as well as conduct a broad question and answer session,” said Edwin Ritchey, UK soil management specialist.
The entire meeting, except the hands-on wheat freeze assessment, will be streamed over ZOOM. The link to the meeting on ZOOM will be available on the Wheat Science Group’s webpage. For more information, contact Kelsey Mehl at 270-365-7541, ext. 200 or Colette Laurent, 270-365-7541, ext. 264.