Weekend Freezing Temps Raise Red Flags Over Status of 2016 HRW Wheat Crop- Updated with Mike Schulte AudioMon, 21 Mar 2016 06:05:17 CDT
Temperatures across Oklahoma on Saturday morning and Sunday morning fell well below freezing in much of the winter wheat and winter canola growing areas in the state. The graphic above from the Mesonet shows the number of hours below freezing as of Sunday afternoon that reflects the total number of hours from both mornings that temperatures were below 32 degrees.
The maps below show the lowest temperature at each Mesonet stations for Saturday morning- the map labeled March 19 and for Sunday morning- the map labeled March 20th.
The 2016 winter wheat crop is somewhat behind normal development, based on the March 14th Crop Weather Update, which showed just ten percent of the Oklahoma wheat crop had reached jointing at that point. However, the numbers of hours below freezing and how cold it got will figure into what the damage. Mark Hodges, with Plains Grains, Inc, told Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays that "I have significant concern- probably most concerned about the areas below 25 degrees for several hours where wheat was in the most advanced stages (the southwestern quarter of Oklahoma). Like always, it will likely take several days to assess any damage.
"On the positive side, we have generally very good root systems, very good tiller development and with favorable weather from here on out(relatively cool with adequate moisutre), there is still in most cases time to recover." Mark adds a good example of that kind of recovery happened in the April freeze of 1997.
John Stotts, Master Agronomy Advisor with Winfield Solutions tweeted to Hays in response to a question about the freeze and wheat and canola conditions- "Won't know for 7 to 10 days. Taking a look at the lows and the number of hours below freezing, it doesn't look good northwest or southwest Oklahoma."
Hays also traded tweets with Jessica Wilcox, who farms with her husband Clint just outside Fairview. With 17 to 21 hours of freezing temperatures in and around Major County, Jessica says there is likely damage- "Definitely hurt on everything. It's still too early to get a clear picture of just how bad it is."
The OSU Small Grains Extension Twitter Account has also indicated it will be a wait and see on whether damage has ocurred from the Saturday/Sunday morning freezes.
On Sunday evening, Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director caught up and did a quick audio interview with Mike Schulte, the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission- and he is agreeing with Hodges and Stotts on the nned to wait to see what damage may actually be visible from the cold temps. He points out in the conversation that you can hear by clicking on the LISTEN BAR beneath the Maps that a similar freeze event occurred last spring on Easter weekend, which was April 4th last year. The crop in northwestern Oklahoma was in much worse condition last year compared to 2016 and the freeze was three weeks later with a crop that was at least on pace with a more normal five year average kind of development. With this freeze event three weeks earlier and the crop just in the midst of jointing, figuring out the damage will be tougher to gauge.
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