The subzero cold being predicted for the Plains next week threatens to damage winter wheat across Nebraska and Kansas in places with little snow cover to protect crops.
Low temperatures of minus 5 to minus 15 are forecast for the region by Monday.
The Maryland-based commodity risk firm MDA Weather Services says that some freeze damage is likely to hit about 15 to 20 percent of the Plains wheat belt. The crop is especially vulnerable in much of Nebraska and north-central Kansas where there is little snow on the ground.
Generally, a couple of inches of snow are sufficient to protect winter wheat when temperatures dip as low as minus 4 degrees. But wheat needs at least 4 inches of snow cover to protect it when temperatures get much lower.