Most wheat in Kansas came through the winter in good shape, but some looks a little ragged or thin, according to Kansas State University agronomist Jim Shroyer.
"Diseases and insects have not yet been a widespread problem in the state, so most of the problems so far have been caused by environmental factors or management practices," said Shroyer, who is a wheat specialist with K-State Research and Extension.
Leaf tip freeze injury was fairly common on wheat in late March, he said. When temperatures fell below freezing at night around March 20 to 22 the leaf tips were burned back and curled up. This type of damage is usually cosmetic and will not reduce yields, unless most or all of the plants were burned back to ground level.
"There has also been some true winter injury to wheat in some areas this year," Shroyer said. "The two most common situations for this involve very late planting (and poor plant development going into winter) and heavy grazing. In some cases, where the wheat was grazed, the plants did not survive the winter as well. In such cases, the winterkill likely was a combination of variety (a good forage variety with marginal winter hardiness) and unusually cold weather just after the cattle were pulled off and carbohydrate reserve levels in the plants were at their low point. Heavy grazing does not always cause winter injury, of course, but it can happen."
Kansas Agricultural Statistics reported the condition of Kansas wheat rated 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 57 percent good, and 12 percent excellent the week ended April 4. Wind damage was reported at 86 percent zero, 13 percent with light damage, and 1 percent with moderate damage. Eighty-six percent was reported to have no freeze damage, while 13 percent had slight freeze damage and 1 percent had moderate damage.