Oklahoma Water Resources Center

Environmental causes of white heads in wheat

As we have progressed towards harvest, more and more white heads are appearing in wheat fields. Dr. Bob Hunger and I looked at several fields and plant samples over the past couple of weeks and have found a few plants affected by take all (see picture to the right) and dryland root rot; however, the vast majority of white heads appearing in wheat fields are attributable to environmental (abiotic) causes. White heads caused by abiotic injury can be lumped into two categories: freeze injury and heat/drought stress.

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