Damage to the heads varied from full mortality to none across a small area. Photos: Greg Roth, Penn State
Two weeks ago we reported on the potential for small grain frost injury in wheat and barley. This week we noticed symptoms of frost injury on two of the lines in our feed barley test that were some of the earliest heading lines in the test. Other barley lines did not show any symptoms. The symptoms were scattered white heads throughout the stand.
The take home message is that the earliest heading lines have some risk of spring frost injury. Also, frost injury was not uniform across the plot or farm. The worst seemed to be in the lowest lying part of the field. At the farm office, they registered a low temperature of only 30F, so I was surprised to see this amount of injury. Our adjacent early Aroostook rye which had headed also had some frost injury to the heads. Later ryes and wheat varieties did not appear to be damaged. Our malting barley test, which was composed of later heading lines, did not show any injury.