Sub Zero Temperatures Could Have Hurt Winter Wheat Farmers

The sub zero temperatures could have hurt farmers' winter wheat, but the snow may have helped minimize damage.

wheat

Photo: Douglas Evans

Wheat is a winter crop but can still be damaged by single digit to sub zero temperatures.

The sub zero temperatures could have been a crop killer for Hoosier Farmers who practice “double cropping.”

Double cropping means farmers plant two crops in one year, and a popular staple for Hoosier double cropping is winter wheat.

But Purdue Assistant Professor of Agronomy Shaun Casteel says farmers may have gotten lucky.

“The extremely cold temperatures, single digits down to the negatives, are temperatures that can really cause damage even on a winter crop like wheat, but when you’ve got the insulation of the snow, you don’t have that kind of damage,” he says.

The next big worry for farmers related to this cold is “winter purging,” when the ground freezes and thaws enough that plants are essentially uprooted right out of the ground before the final spring thaw.

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