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Cold Spring Temperatures Affect Winter Wheat

It's hurry up and wait for some farmers in Nebraska as they prepare for the outcome of winter wheat.

Low snow levels in most parts of the state, combined with dry conditions and cold temperatures at the beginning of spring, have some farmers worried about their crops.

"Wheat has nine lives," said wheat farmer, Mike Bundy.

But even with nine lives, some crops may not be able to outlive the cold temperatures early this spring.

"We're a little late on breaking dormancy around here because it's been so cold," said Bundy. "We didn't have much fall rain, we went into the fall dry, had some moisture and got a good start, but that's just the start."

Finishing the process is what Bundy is counting on, but with low snow accumulations around the state, he says it's hard to be optimistic.

"We've had almost no snow cover," said Bundy. "It will act just like a blanket and keep the plant from getting cold. The longer you have a snow cover, the better it is."

Without that cover, cold temperatures won't necessarily destroy the crop, but Bundy says it all depends on rainfall when the wheat breaks dormancy.

"It still needs a couple of really good rains at critical times, and one of those is when it breaks dormancy," he said.

But with a chance for rain by the middle of this week, it could be coming at just the right time. Until the wheat breaks dormancy, Bundy said he'll just have to wait and see if cold temperatures affected his yield.


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