Wow! What a crazy weekend of weather- great rainfall, but did it really have to snow? And also do keep the folks in the Delmont area in our thoughts.
To the business for the day, I have had several calls and notes today concerned with the effects of snow on emerged wheat and other crops. Here are my thoughts:
Generally, snow is not a really big deal. The ground is not frozen under the snow, and actually accumulating snow acts as somewhat of an insulator. I am not too worried about suffocation of any crops, unless the snow ices over and lasts for several days, which it will not. Assessing wheat is a "wait until a few warm days" proposition. We have to look for frozen plants- typical frost symptoms, like dark green, watersoaked leaves. I do not expect to see much, if any loss. Even if we have a few frost-nipped leaf tips tonight, what is important is that with wheat, it is unlikely the growing point was above ground yet, especially with spring wheat. Wheat does not bring that above ground until around five or six leaves, so even if tips got nipped, we should be OK, as long as crowns were not frozen solid.
I am more concerned with germinating corn getting a really cold shot of water after this and getting imbibitional chilling. Actually corn that is emerging is in better shape- the chilling injury risk is largely past by then. Frost is not a great thing on V1-V3 corn, but the growing point is not out until V5, and it will usually come through it quite well.
Any early soybeans that were trying to come up are a concern. If soybeans are up, and I doubt many are, we need to check what gets nipped tonight. If soybeans freeze off ABOVE the cotyledons, ok, but if soy freezes BELOW the cotyledons, they will not come back. Remember again, though, that the soil, although the not really warm, is still a big heat sink. Emerging crops are fairly protected until they reach a few inches into the air.