Texas wheat prospects much improved

Texas wheat farmers may not be rejoicing over record production as they complete harvest, but most are happier than they were a year ago when yields were far below average, thanks to the historic 2011 drought.

Kody Bessent, executive assistant, Texas Wheat Producers Board, says substantial and timely moisture this year has resulted in much better crop prospects.

“Texas wheat reports indicate 68 percent of the crop is rated from fair to excellent,” Bessent said during a recent “Wheat and Water Issues” field day at the USDA-ARS/Texas AgriLife Research Station at Bushland.

Bessent said only 32 percent of the state’s wheat crop is rated poor to very poor and that number is improved from a week ago.

He says harvest is about two weeks earlier than usual with early reports showing good yields. Blacklands growers are cutting from 60 bushels to 70 bushels per acre. Yields in the Rolling Plains are ranging from 30 bushels to 50 bushels per acre, and South Texas farmers are reporting 40 to 60 bushel yields.

‘We are a bit concerned as the High Plains prepares to harvest,” he said, “because of ongoing drought conditions.”

Bessent also reported on wheat check-off funds. “The checkoff invested $200,000 last year in research,” he said. Funds helped scientists with disease and pest resistance work. “Over the past five years, the checkoff has invested more than $1 million in research,” he said.

Checkoff money also helps marketing and promotion, which improves export potential for U.S. and Texas wheat.


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