Good News for Wheat Farmers

Dr. Brent Bean, Extension Agronomist WTAMU
Dr. Brent Bean, Extension Agronomist WTAMU

Wheat producers here in the panhandle can relax a little bit for now, experts say their crop has not suffered from last weekend's deep freeze. 
After those cold temperatures, this field and others like it across our area are still set up to produce grain and lots of it. Less than a week after the deep freeze agronomist Dr. Brent Bean is surveying wheat across the southwest panhandle to assess the damage. He says "We're not seeing much injury. All the wheat looks pretty good. There is very little leaf burn, it's plump looking and it really hasn't been hurt".

The secret is buried deep in the stalk of the plant. The more green it is the more likely it will stay healthy. This is great news for farmers anxious after crops were hit hard in other parts of the country. Today, wheat farmer Butch Merritt says he is relieved. "Last Friday and Saturday when the temperatures got down I have a thermometer in my pick up and I was just driving around, when the tempurature got around...25, 26, 27 I knew it was a concern.

The crop seems to have survived this round but the worst may not be over, temperatures may dip low again as soon as this weekend. Dr. Bean added "The further along wheat gets, like three weeks from now if we get down to 25 that's gonna be a problem, because that wheat head now is further from the ground, and its about to head out, and it doesn't have any protection from the leaves, and it's gonna be much more susceptible to a freeze at that time".

Dr. Bean says he and his colleagues will do another survey next week just to be sure the crop continues to withstand the weather.