Wheat damaged from mid-April freeze

Wheat damaged from mid-April freeze-5/4/2020

TILLMAN COUNTY, Okla. (TNN) -Wheat farmers across the state are assessing their crops for damages due to a late freeze in April.

“You know, this could’ve been the best crop I’d ever raised in 44 years,” said farmer Roger Fischer. “These fields that we’re looking at today are almost at zero. There’s just no grain in them.”

Fischer says thankfully he has insurance on his crops.

For those who don't, a loss like this can be devastating.

“Imagine spending all this money on this crop, and then have it wiped out,” said Fischer. “It’s very difficult. It’s disheartening. It’s discouraging.”

And while a late freeze in April is not uncommon in Oklahoma, the effect on your crop depends on the stage it is in.

“Depending upon where that freeze was, and where that pollination period was, we may already had part of that head pollinated, and so part of that head is alive and producing grain, and the other part is dead and not producing grain,” said Aaron Henson, Tillman County Ag Extension Educator. “Or all of it may have been in that part where it hadn’t been pollinated, and so none of that head is any good.”

Henson believes Tillman County had about 35 percent damage to their wheat fields.

“There is some lucky places out there,” said Henson. “There’s some producers right across the field from each other. One has a complete loss to their field, and right across the road, I don’t think there is any damage at all. I still think they’ll make 60 to 70 bushel wheat out there. So there is those positive aspects of that.”

Besides the producer, Fischer says this could affect several people down the line.

“All the infrastructure, the co-ops, the graining facilities, the grain companies, it impacts them greatly because they don’t have any volume to pass through their company,” said Fischer. “It really creates tremendous stress on all of the infrastructure.”

Farmers now have the option to salvage their crop, by cutting and baling it for hay.

If you have questions regarding your wheat crop, contact your local county extension office.

The OK State’s Small Grain Extension Specialist, Dr. Amanda Silva has a detailed report on what is being seen and what to look for.

Here is the link to the report - https://osuwheat.com/

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