Growers urged to check crops amid frost

Photo: Supplied.
Photo: Supplied.

Grain growers are being urged to check their crops for signs of frost damage after low temperatures saw frost events reported across the Esperance Port Zone late last week.

According to Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development research officer Ben Biddulph, frost damage can take up to 10 days to be clearly visible.

Dr Biddulph recommended growers wait, check the lower parts of the paddock first and begin with light textured soils.

"With crop development variable across the Wheatbelt, it is important for growers in affected areas to get into their crops and inspect plants for frost damage in the head, stem, flowers and developing grains," he said.

"Wheat and barley crops are most susceptible to frost damage after head emergence, although cereal crops can also be at risk during the early booting and grain filling stages.

"Canola and pulses are most susceptible at the end of flowering during early grain fill."

With the late season break having delayed crop development, Dr Biddulph said most crops would not yet be at their susceptible stage.

Dr Biddulph encouraged growers whose crops had been affected to re-inspect the crops with their consultant before discussing management options.

It is understood the department has several frost research projects underway to better understand the impact of frost on grains crops in a bid to aid the state's grain growers.

Growers are encouraged to visit www.agric.wa.gov.au/frost/frost-tools-and-support to access information on assessing crops and implementing management strategies.

Dr Biddulph will be available at the SEPWA field days at Condingup, Beaumont and Neridup on September 23 and 24 to discuss frost identification and management.

For more information, visit www.grdc.com.au/managing-frost-risk