Agronomy Talk

Agronomy Update

Ohio Fields Showing Signs of Frost Damage

Published on Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The cool temperatures we have experienced over the last several nights have led to questions regarding frost damage. We are seeing some signs of frost damage here at our Ohio Practical Farm Research (PFR)® location, however we won’t know the severity of this damage until three to five days following the frost event. With the low temperatures leading up to this recent frost event, the hardening off process had started making our crops more tolerant of cool temperatures. Wet soils and dew present helps to maintain soil temperatures, thereby decreasing the risk of injury.

Check out the video below to learn more about the frost damage we are experiencing here in Ohio, and what you can look for in your own fields. 

Frost damaged corn often appears limp and darker green with a thin appearance. V5 corn approximately 6 to 8 in. tall often recovers from a frost event because the growing point is still below the soil surface, which gives the plant a better chance of survival.

In soybeans, frost damage will cause limp leaves and a crisp texture a few days following the frost event. A limited number of soybean acreage is currently planted and those acres of soybeans planted are still small in size. At these early growing stages, if the main growing point is killed, a lower growing point can take over. These lower growing points can be noted in the axillary buds (yellow arrows below).  

Currently, wheat in Ohio is heading or flowering. The graph below shows that at this growth stage, frost damage can be expected following two or more hours of temperatures at 30°F or lower. Visible injury includes twisting of leaves. Following that three to five day period, wheat will show some necrosis or bleaching (shown below).

Thanks to Alexandra Knight, Beck's new PFR Agronomist, for writing this article. If you have any questions, feel free to contact her at

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Alex Johnson

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