This was the scene when heavy snow suddenly fell in Xinjiang.
The Xinjiang weather station issued a Cold Wave Blue warning signal at 13:00 hours on 23rd May 2018, saying “It is estimated that temperatures in the northern part of Xinjiang will fall by around 8℃ from tonight until the following evening. A cold wave will occur in the northern part of the Tacheng area, the Altay region, the eastern part of Luji, and the northern part of Hami City. The temperature will drop by 10-12ºC. The daily minimum temperature in these areas will drop to 2-4ºC, accompanied by varying degrees of frost”.
This was a serious warning for farmers and growers.
The average daily temperature in May this year in Xinjiang was the lowest in the past four years, and the temperature fluctuations were extreme. Following the freezing of some crops in early May, some areas in Xinjiang were once again subjected to heavy storms and snowfalls on 23rd May, which caused many losses and adverse effects for the local broadacre, animal, forestry and fruit production industries.
Mitigating the Damage Sustained
In May of each year, the spring wheat crops in most areas of Xinjiang enter the stages of tillering and jointing.
The RLF Technical Team advised the following remedial measures for the wheat fields that suffered damage from the freezing.
1. FERTILISER AND WATER
Wheat is a crop with tillering properties. Since the main stem and the growth point of the big tiller are subjected to freezing damage, the growth centre has begun to transfer to the small tiller that still survives. So, it is important to promote the growth of the small tillers. As long as the management is strengthened, a good harvest can still be obtained.
Wheat affected by spring freezing should immediately be applied with available nitrogen fertiliser and watering. The synergistic effect of nitrogen and moisture will promote the early tillering of wheat, increase the percentage of spikes per tiller, and enhance the number of panicles per mu (≈ 670sqm) of land, thereby reducing the loss due to freezing damage. Generally, 10kg Urea is applied for each mu (≈ 670sqm) of land.
2. TAKE SUBSOIL AND CONSERVATION TILLAGE MEASURES
Raise the ground temperature to increase the number of tillers. This will help achieve a good harvest.
3. APPLY FOLIAR FERTILISER
After wheat has been frozen, the timely spraying of plant cell membrane stabiliser can promote the recovery of wheat. This measure gives the rapid growth of middle and small tillering and the rapid growth of latent buds.
4. ATTEND TO DISEASE PREVENTION
The frozen wheat fields are more vulnerable to pests and diseases and the farmer should not lose sight of this and work to prevent and treat the crop in a timely way. Wheat powdery mildew and rust can be controlled with Propiconazole or Epoxiconazole spray to reduce losses.
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