Area crops dodge frost bullet

Mid-October brought below freezing temperatures but area crops dodged disaster for the most part.

Angie Rieck- Hinz, field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said that temperatures on Oct. 11 dropped to 30 degrees in the area overnight.

Rieck-Hinz said that while temperatures likely reached colder temperatures in lower areas, the 30 degree mark is not low enough to cause significant damage to crops.

“When we talk about a killing frost, we think about having frost or temperatures that get down to 28 degrees for our or five hours,” she said. “Frost at 32 degrees is not always a killing frost.” She added that frost damage is also relative to the development of the plant. Corn in the R6 development phase would be affected by a 28 degree or lower frost but if a plant had already reached physiological maturity, yield loss in that particular plant would be zero.

As far as harvest progress, Rieck- Hinz said the season is off to a slow start because of the late planting season, which adds to the worry of a killing frost. Because fields were still being planted in June and because some farmers switched to a shorty maturity seed, conditions of the fall become a difficult obstacle to navigate.

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