Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wheat Damage?

Several farmers are concerned about these low temperatures damaging their wheat crop. Some areas get frosted more than others but it is very unusual here. I don't remember ever losing a crop to freeze damage.

Freeze damage occurs at about 24 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or so depending on a lot of factors like soil moisuture, humidity, cover etc. The key thing is what stage the wheat is in when the cold temps hit. If the wheat is in Feeke's stage 5.0 to 6.0 and that little baby head is above ground far enough to get frozen.

We had that here yesterday morning. I don't think I have enough little heads up far enough to get frozen but I know there are some as the main tiller is always ahead of the little tillers. Wheat will have up to 10 or more tillers per seed so the little ones are probably OK but that main one can get smoked and hurt the whole crop.

Then the local weathermen called for a low of 22 this morning! I thought well that crop is shot for sure now but I woke up and the weatherman missed it again. It was a safer 30 degrees this morning.

I was just telling LuAnn I have to call crop insurance and have them analyze its condition for a possible claim. Damage shows up about 3 days after freezing and you can see the white water tissue turn yellow then brown inside the wheat plant.

One field is suspect, planted first on the best soil and the rest are behind it in growth and should be OK. It really doesn't matter what I think about the crop until the adjustor makes his counts and puts it on paper. Then, I can make a decision.

If I come up short on bushels, I can fill my contract. Wheat got up to $9 a bushel here awhile ago so I sold some. July delivery wheat has dropped back under $7 per bushel so I should be OK on the contract. You don't want to sell at the reverse, a lesser price early and come short on bushels when the price is higher in July. This normally doesn't happen but it has and it can.

That is farming today, decisions, decisions, decisions. The markets are so volatile the price can do anything, go in your favor or reverse on you.

The AGCO site has an interesting piece today where a deep sea diver found a load of Massey Ferguson tractors that have been laying at the bottom of the ocean off tbe coast of Tunisia for years.

Have a good day,

Ed Winkle

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