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Little Damage From Chill In U. S. Plains

Frosty temperatures in the U. S. corn belt and the southern Plains wheat belt may have been cold enough to cause scattered minor crop damage over the weekend but nothing significant, a private forecaster said May 10.

“It did not come in as cold as we were thinking in those western areas,” said Mike Palmerino, a meteorologist with Telvent DTN.

The coldest readings in the winter wheat country of the Plains came Saturday morning, with Goodland, Kansas, in the northwest portion of the state hitting -5 C.

Elsewhere in Kansas, where more of the wheat crop was in the heading phase and therefore vulnerable, temperatures went to single digits above freezing.

“That certainly is not cold enough to cause any damage. So I really don’t think in wheat country that it was a factor,” Palmerino said. “I’m not saying there was no damage, but it was probably fairly marginal.”

Kansas is the largest U. S. producer of winter wheat. As of May 2, 17 per cent of the state’s crop was headed, with most of it in the south-central region.

The chill reached into northern areas of the corn belt on Sunday morning, with temperatures dipping to -2 C at Mason City, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“You certainly burned some leaves back. Based on those temperatures in those two areas, it may have killed off a little bit of emerged corn,” Palmerino said.

There was less risk of damage elsewhere in the western corn belt across Minnesota, Iowa, eastern Nebraska and northern Missouri.

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