Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4

Article Title

Frost injury to wheat


S P. Loss


Wheat, Frost injury, Western Australia

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Frost injury has not been a major concern to the Western Australian wheat industry despite causing spectacular but irregular crop losses on some farms.

The development of suitable herbicides, direct drilling technology and the adoption of early flowering varieties in the late 1970s and early 1980s led to wheat crops being sown and flowering earlier than previously. This resulted in an increase in the incidence of frost damage.

Research into frost indicates that most wheat producers face low to moderate risks of yield loss caused by frost. However, individual farms in particular years can suffer devestating widespread losses. Grost injury can be reduced in the longterm by sowing a l0onger maturing variety later than usual, but the increase in yield is more often outweighed by yield lost because of delayed sowing and flowering.