It seems like lately we have had some pretty cold weather come through and I have had several questions about the winter wheat conditions.

Wheat is a very tough plant, and it can withstand a lot of adverse weather conditions. Its hardiness usually is greatest during early winter and is lost gradually as the season progresses.

Most winter killing occurs during late winter, when warm spells cause the plants to lose hardiness and then are followed by cold fronts that cause the damage. We have had enough moisture so far this winter, and that has helped buffer plants from the cold temperature in the soil and hold the soil from blowing. Snow provides excellent protection because it insulates the plants from extreme cold and keeps them from responding to warm spells. The critical plant part is the growing point, which is protected partially by being about 1 inch below the soil surface during winter. Leaves often stay green during mild winters, but freezing or "burning" of leaves by cold has little effect on yield. If there has been any freeze damage to the wheat we will not know it until later in the year.

— Ryan Flaming is a Kansas State Research and Extension Agent of Harvey County. Agricuture is his specialty.