How Does the Weather Impact Wheat Yield?

Wheat growers are anxiously watching the weather patterns this spring. Having just experienced a warmer than normal February, the question is, what will March and April bring. With the unseasonably warm February, wheat started to green up and break dormancy earlier than normal.

While scouting small grain fields across portions of PA, I have noticed many small grain fields look uneven, and in some areas we have noticed significant winter kill, which is a result of excessive freezing and thawing over the past few months. Since we didn’t have a deep freeze, and we had a lot of temperature swings, the freeze thaw activity has jacked the crowns up out of the soil and exposed the roots. In areas where the soils have been dry, the roots are drying out and as a result we are seeing some plant death and stand loss.

plant impacted by weather

The next question I am already getting is, “How much should we be concerned about cold temps over the next 60 days?”

Below is a chart that shows stages of growth and the temperatures at which the wheat crop could be at risk.

chart of freeze injury to wheat during each growth stage