FAQ: Winter Wheat Not Tolerant Of Cold When Flowering?

What Makes Winter Wheat a “Winter Wheat”?

Winter wheat requires cold acclimation and vernalization to perform optimally and produce good yields. Wheat can withstand freezing temperatures for extended periods of time during the early vegetative stage, but it requires exposure to freezing or near freezing temperatures to trigger the reproductive stage.

Cold Acclimation

Winter wheat plants must be exposed to a series of cooler temperatures early in their growth stage, with cold acclimation beginning when the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This greatly aids frost resistance and other winter conditions that a winter wheat plant must face.


Winter wheat requires an extended period of below 40u00b0 F temperatures after cold acclimation. Crop stubble helps catch snow and form an insulating blanket throughout the winter, and snow also helps provide the moisture needed the following spring.

More Information

South Dakota State University’s College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences published iGrow: Best Management Practices for Wheat Production in 2012.

How cold is too cold for winter wheat?

Winter wheat varieties adapted to northern climates are usually more tolerant of extended subfreezing temperatures than those adapted to southern climates, with the most winter hardy varieties able to withstand crown temperatures as low as -15u00b0F.

Why does winter wheat not freeze?

Temperatures that Cause Spring Freeze Injury Winter wheat undergoes a complex process of cold hardening in the fall that increases its resistance to cold during the winter, but its cold hardiness is quickly lost when growth resumes in the spring, leaving little resistance to freezing.

Is wheat cold tolerant?

Winter wheat can withstand freezing temperatures for long periods of time during the early vegetative stage, but it requires exposure to freezing or near freezing temperatures to trigger the reproductive stage; in other words, winter wheat will not produce seed if it is not exposed to cold temperatures.

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How does winter wheat survive the cold?

Winter wheat plants go through a process called “cold acclimation” in the fall, during which they gain the ability to withstand the cold temperatures they will encounter during the winter.

At what temperature does winter wheat go dormant?

Winter Wheat Emergence: Threshold Indicator Hard red winter wheat can break dormancy when the 14-day average temperature is equal to or above five degrees Celsius, or 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

Will wheat germinate in cold weather?

Wheat is more cold tolerant than oats or barley, and can produce a good stand even when soil temperatures are as low as 40 degrees, according to the agronomist. However, late-planted wheat has less time to meet its vernalization (cold ) requirement and establish a good root system.

Does a freeze hurt wheat?

Wheat is most vulnerable to freeze injury during reproductive growth, which begins with pollination during the late boot or heading stages, and even temperatures just below freezing can severely injure wheat at these stages, reducing grain yields significantly.

Does frost hurt winter wheat?

Frost damage can affect winter wheat depending on how cold it gets and what stage of growth it is in (see Table 1). Frost damaged winter wheat at this stage will have leaf chlorosis and necrotic leaf tips, but the effect on yield will be minor.

What is the point of winter wheat?

Winter wheat is used primarily for all-purpose, pastry, and cake flours. It sprouts before freezing and then goes dormant until the soil warms up in early spring, similar to planting grass seed (actually, a close relative) before frost to ensure a green lawn the following spring.

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What temp kills wheat?

Although exposed wheat plants can withstand temperatures of -5 to -10 F, the most damaging weather factor is an extended period of favorable temperatures followed by a rapid onset of very cold weather.

What temp does wheat stop growing?

Although wheat’s lower growth limit is around 42 degrees Fahrenheit, Bauer found a better correlation in GDD predictions by setting the lower threshold temperature to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius).

Is winter wheat an annual or perennial?

Plant breeders are currently developing perennial wheat, whereas the commonly grown winter wheat is an annual crop.

What’s made of wheat?

Wheat is milled into flour, which is then used to make bread, crumpets, muffins, noodles, pasta, biscuits, cakes, pastries, cereal bars, sweet and savory snack foods, crackers, crisp-breads, sauces, and confectionery (such as liquorice).

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