Producers should continue to check fields for frost damage
Much of Saskatchewan hit freezing temperatures overnight on Sept. 7 and into the morning of Sept. 8. Frost this early in the season can affect crops like soybeans and faba beans.
Since both crops take longer to mature, they are susceptible to early season frost, said Dale Risula.
“It depends on what maturity level (the crops) are at and that will vary between different varieties,” he told Farms.com. The length of the frost will also shape its effect on crops.
Risula is the provincial specialist for pulses and special crops with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.
If soybeans were in the R5 to R6 stage and the temperature was -1 C (34 F) for more than two or three hours, you can have significant damage to the top of the plant.
In the R5 to R6 stage, the seeds are “still filling and are more susceptible to freezing because these cells will rupture when they freeze, and the seed will lose all its moisture content. It'll often shrivel up afterward. It dries and becomes quite small and worthless,” said Risula.
If plants were in the R5 to R6 stage, producers could see losses up to 50 per cent if the temperatures stayed low enough for long enough.
Faba beans would have a similar fate if they weren’t along far enough. However, they should be farther along than soybeans since faba beans can be planted earlier in the spring, said Risula.
Producers should continue to check their fields even a few days after the frost, he said.
“It may take a few days for plants to show the symptoms related to frost, so it could be a couple of days before producers actually start seeing the damage,” he said.
On Sept. 7 and 8, the temperatures varied across Saskatchewan. Places like Saskatoon hit -6.9 C (19.6 F), while Kindersley, Sask. hit -3.8 C (25 F).
“In all instances, (the frost) lasted maybe an hour. So, that timeframe and at that level hopefully wasn't enough to do too much damage,” said Risula.
If producers do have frost damage, however, they could use faba beans for livestock feed. As for soybeans, producers should check with their buyers as the crop could still be salvaged, said Risula.
Calebbodaniel/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo