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Frost alert for growers

Countryman
DAFWA’s Dr Ben Biddulph takes a closer look at frost-affected crops.
Camera IconDAFWA’s Dr Ben Biddulph takes a closer look at frost-affected crops. Credit: Countryman

Growers should continue to be on the lookout for symptoms of frost damage in crops, after further frost events in parts of the central and eastern Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Lakes District.

Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) research officer Ben Biddulph said there had been several frost events during the past month.

“These events could result in minor impacts on crops,” Dr Biddulph, who is management program leader for the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) National Frost Initiative, said.

Dr Biddulph said growers should be on the lookout for symptoms of damage in crops, which would become visible in the next week.

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When damage was clear, management and salvage options could be considered rationally.

Bureau of Meteorology and DAFWA weather stations show some localised areas recorded temperatures as low as -2C to -4C that will result in frost damage — most from the nights between September 17-18 in the central, eastern, upper and lower Great Southern and Lakes districts.

“In some of these areas there are localised reports of stem and reproductive frost damage in canola, wheat, barley and lupin crops at susceptible stages, in susceptible parts of the landscape and soil types,” Dr Biddulph said.

“These symptoms are visible now and will need to be monitored over the coming fortnight.”

Frost symptoms may not be obvious for up to 10 days after a frost event. The damage tends to be patchy and variable within a paddock.

“Early-sown crops, low-lying areas and light coloured soil types are usually most at risk and these areas should be checked first,” Dr Biddulph said.

“Farmers need to be very confident about damage levels and consider all economic aspects before making decisions about damaged crops.”

Detailed information on identifying frost damage and evaluating options for frost affected crops is available from the DAFWA website agric.wa.gov.au/frost/frost-diagnosing-problem

Growers are encouraged to discuss management options with their local consultant.

Report frost damage through the Pestfax Reporter app available on Apple App store, Google play or online.

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