Until very recently, cold weather has been on my mind, and a recent e-mail I received from our National Climate Hub leadership caught my attention.

The message announced the creation of a new data product by the USA National Phenology Network to help growers better estimate potential freeze damage to the winter wheat crop.  

The tool — which can be found here — works by estimating the development stage of winter wheat crop in different regions of the country and then overlaying that with information on daylength and recent temperature conditions.

They then create a map showing the likelihood that plants suffered damage due to sub-freezing temperatures. The maps are then available in real time and up to 6 days in the future.

It’s important to remember the information on wheat development is an estimate. It doesn’t factor in variety differences or planting times — it’s an average, and we all know that when it comes to weather impact one size definitely does not fit all.

Nevertheless, this tool does give you a good idea as to what to anticipate as far as cold weathers impact on your winter wheat crop. It’s also a pilot project, which means they are definitely looking for feedback on how useful the information is and how they can improve the product. 

If, after looking at the tool, you have suggestions on what information they can add and how they can make it better there is a comments link on their website next to the maps. Make sure you leave your contact number as well, because I know they would love to visit with you about the product.

Go on over and check it and all their other information out at https://www.usanpn.org/usa-national-phenology-network

Also keep an eye out for a future podcast episode we are putting together with their director. We’ll be discussing not just the winter wheat impact tool, but the overall mission of the Phenology Network.