Snow Could Guard Winter Wheat Against South Dakota Cold Snap

PIERRE, S.D. – The recent cold snap with temperatures 15-20 degrees below normal likely hasn’t hurt South Dakota’s fledgling winter wheat crop.

The snow cover will help protect the crop as it provides insulation from the cold air and moisture for next spring. Another positive is that the wheat was planted earlier than normal in September and emerged ahead of its typical pace, with a stronger stand by the time killing temperatures stopped the growing season.

Ruth Beck, agronomy field specialist with the South Dakota State University regional extension office in Pierre, says winter wheat are usually hurt over multiple cycles of freezing and thawing. She says farmers and other agriculture experts won’t know for certain whether or not the crop is hurt until spring.

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