Assessing Wheat Damage

Assessing Wheat Damage

Photo of damged wheat
Wheat badly damaged by heavy rains and hail this week in the Nebraska Panhandle. (Photos by Bob Harveson)
Photo of damaged wheat

June 12, 2009

Hail and heavy winds damaged, and in some cases, flattened wheat fields in western and south central Nebraska this week.

To assess hail damage to winter wheat, the standard is to count the damaged stems or heads, if possible, in one foot of row in several places to get the average number of stems or heads damaged.

Using a 12-inch plant spacing, there are 43,560 feet of row in an acre. The average wheat head has about 22 kernels. Therefore, one damaged stem or head per row-foot equals 43,560 x 22 = 958,320 seeds per acre.

If we use a seed weight of 15,972 seeds per pound and divide the estimated total seed loss per acre by seeds per pound (958,320 divided by 15,972), it equals 60 pounds or 1 bushel per acre in 12-inch rows.

In-10 inch rows there would be a 1.2-bushel loss per acre for every stem or head damaged and with 7.5-inch rows, a 1.6-bushel per acre loss.

Bob Klein
Western Nebraska Crops Specialist, West Central REC