Region 8 Wheat Crop Takes Hit - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Craighead County, AR--Sarah Tipton Reporting

Region 8 Wheat Crop Takes Hit

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR -- Wheat farmers are counting their losses Tuesday evening as freezing temperatures destroyed thousands of acres of grain over the weekend.

Now that temperatures are warming up--farmers are still left with freezer burned fields.    There's no doubt the wheat crop was effected by the cold temperatures but what's unclear at this point is the degree of damage to the crops.   

Tony Parish, a local farmer said he "knew right off the start there was probably going to be some damage."   

The University of Arkansas Extension Service sent Jason Kelley, a feed grain agronomist to examine the damage.  He stated, "It got cold enough that I've got several reports that people were cutting or slicing open these stems early in the morning and they had ice in them."

The wheat may look healthy, but it's not. This is the first time Parish has seen such damage to the weat this late in the season due to freezing temperatures.  The record cold temperatures over the weekend battered this year's wheat crop.

"About all of these plants I've looked at," says Kelley, "you've got that portion of the stem that actually froze and it is very weak right now. In a few more days freeze damage symptoms will become more apparent."    

Specialists have decided there is damage to this year's wheat crop. just how much and just how costly it will be has yet to be determined.   

Kelley notes, "In a few days we'll be able to assess our damage a little bit better.  Just don't go out and hastily make decisions about destroying the crop when we may still have a decent crop."               

One option is to let the wheat mature, see what the harvest provides, and then move forward as planned.  The effects must first be seen before a decision can be made.    Typically, soybeans are planted after wheat harvest, and in the same field.         

Parish says as of now,  they're really in no hurry to plant soybeans. It's still early in the season, and they want to see how much of their wheat crop can be salvaged.

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