Freeze Update from the Panhandle
June 15, 2007
The June 8 freeze in the Nebraska Panhandle has caused some significant crop damage in scattered areas. It appears that much of the winter wheat crop has survived with little to no injury, especially in the southeast Panhandle (Deuel, Garden, and Cheyenne Counties) where wheat was furthest along in development and temperatures did not generally go below freezing at all or for very long.
Jerry Darnell, manager for Western Sugar Co. in Scottsbluff, said company representatives have visited all their sugar beet fields and didn't find any freeze damage. Sugarbeets are quite cold tolerant due to the high sugar levels in the leaves.
We have looked at corn samples from several locations north and west of Scottsbluff. Damage ranged from only top growth being killed to plant tissue death to the growing point. Plants that were 4 to 5 inches tall and had 3 to 4 inches of undamaged live tissue above the growing point should recover if they have adequate moisture. Plants that had more than 50% of the plant tissue dead above the growing point will have difficulty recovering and will have lost most of their future leaves. An interesting observation has been that fields or portions of fields that were stressed from dry conditions, recent postemergence herbicide treatments, or cultivation seemed to have suffered more frost injury than fields where corn plants were not stressed.
Extension Dryland Crops Specialist
Extension Soils Specialist
Both at the Panhandle REC, Scottsbluff