Soil Scout Social - Unlocking the Secrets of Cereal Crop Winter Survival: A Guide for Monitoring and Maximising Outcomes - Part 2

The Winter Cereal Survival Model was put to the test when temperatures plummeted in January, threatening to reverse the crops' hard-earned tolerance to the frosty season. Unfortunately, the frosty February weather caused minor but significant damage to the crops, leaving farmers to assess the impact of the cold snap.

A model can create incredibly accurate forecasts, but only if the input measurement values are precise. Regional estimates are useful, but they don't tell the full story when it comes to field-specific topsoil temperatures. To make a truly accurate assessment, factors such as snow cover (which includes the depth and density), tillage practices, and even soil moisture need to be taken into account. Unfortunately, spot sampling and telemetry simply aren't enough to provide the level of detail that is needed.

Even though the complete model may seem too extreme for some, the essential conclusion is that gradually cooling temperatures will help to build up resistance, while a sudden drop in the soil temperature during the beginning of winter can be perilous. Once the resistance has been established, it's essential to ensure that the soil temperature does not fall lower than two to three degrees Celsius below the level of resistance. If that happens, it's beneficial to explore the University of Saskatchewan's winter kill index online calculator CLICK HERE. This calculator can help to provide a better understanding of the risks of winter kill and how to avoid it.

It's important to remember that a single measurement of soil temperature can only give a rudimentary understanding of the temperature in the field. To gain a comprehensive appreciation of the variations in soil temperature and the uniformity of winter survival, there should be multiple sensors across the field.

The model in question can be used to observe the winter cereal survival conditions beneath the surface, a task which would otherwise be expensive and time-consuming without it - trial and error is no longer necessary. A more accurate understanding of local specific conditions can now be gained with this innovative tool, allowing for a more comprehensive overview of the situation.

Stay with us weekly to explore the agronomic advantages of monitoring soil temperature together. You can also ask one of our soil monitoring experts a question to answer next week.. Click here to send an email with your question

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James Baylis

Head of Creative Content at Soil Scout. With over 20 years experience in the design, media and photographic industries, James has a passion for promoting the Soil Scout solution through creative content and marketing.