Time to assess crops for frost damage

A late season frost chilled Ohio’s newly emerged crops earlier this week and farmers should now be checking to determine the extent of the damage.

Ben Klick, from Massillon, saw first-hand the colder-than-usual conditions that had many producers concerned. Sunday was less than ideal for emerged crops in Klick’s northeastern Ohio fields.

“I was hauling manure and it snowed like a banshee for about 15 or 20 minutes. Enough to smack the windshield for a little bit. There was no accumulation on the ground, but just enough to hit the windshield,” Klick said.

His farm has a respectable amount of seed in the ground already.

“We got about 350 acres in. About 130 acres of that’s out of the ground,” he said. “The first stretch of good weather we had, we started planting some April 25. The corn and beans, they stayed in the ground for a lot longer than I was hoping. We got that cold wet stretch there. It wasn’t even germinating there for awhile. We finally got out and now we’ve got beans that are about two or three inches out of the ground and we’ve got corn that’s got a couple of leaves on it.”

Here are some tips from Beck’s Hybrids agronomist Alexandra Knight, at the London PFR site evaluating wheat and soybean frost damage and what to look for on your own crops.

“The cool temperatures we have experienced over the last several nights have led to questions regarding frost damage. We are seeing some signs of frost damage here at our Ohio Practical Farm Research location, however we won’t know the severity of this damage until three to five days following the frost event. With the low temperatures leading up to this recent frost event, the hardening off process had started making our crops more tolerant of cool temperatures. Wet soils and dew present helps to maintain soil temperatures, thereby decreasing the risk of injury,” Knight said.

Frost damaged corn often appears limp and darker green with a thin appearance. V5 corn that is approximately six to eight inches tall often recovers from a frost event because the growing point is still below the soil surface, which gives the plant a better chance of survival.

“In soybeans, frost damage will cause limp leaves and a crisp texture a few days following the frost event. A limited number of soybean acreage is currently planted and those acres of soybeans planted are still small in size,” Knight said. “At these early growing stages, if the main growing point is killed, a lower growing point can take over. These lower growing points can be noted in the axillary buds.”

Currently, the wheat crop in Ohio is heading or flowering.

“Visible injury includes twisting of leaves. Following that three to five day period, wheat will show some necrosis or bleaching,” Knight said.

 

 

 

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