Texas wheat crop needs weather turn

Warm temperatures and sunshine are needed to turn things around for Texas wheat, which is well behind in growth, the Texas Agricultural Extension Service reports.

Extension Agronomist Travis Miller of College Station said much of the state has received rain that helped replenish soil moisture, but now warm, sunny weather is needed for the crop to grow and use the moisture.

“Through mid-October it was hot and dry. But since then it has been too wet for much growth. In central Texas, an ideal crop would be 4 to 6 inches by now and jointing, but a lot of the crop is in the two or three leaf stage.”

Miller said as a result, the crop is small, off-color and suffering.

“The longer it goes without sunshine, the less chance for tiller development and dense stands,” he said. “We achieve high yields through a dense crop with lots of heads per square foot, and this is dependent on sunshine which allows second, third and fourth heads to develop on a plant.”

District Extension Director Galen Chandler of Vernon said wheat in the Rolling Plains made some growth recently during warm and mild weather, but a cold front that brought ice and low temperatures slowed growth again.

“Some late-planted fields have not emerged,” he said. “Grazing remains limited, but cattle are being placed on wheat fields as they are available.”

Extension agronomist Billy Warrick of San Angelo said in addition to warm weather, the crop in west central Texas could benefit from rain.

“Wheat is well behind schedule,” he said. “It was seeded late and with cool temperatures, growth has been limited. We are hoping that with some moisture and warmer temperatures, the crop will respond quickly and put on growth.”

Warrick said marginal forage and grain production is expected, however. Yields may range from 15 to 20 bushels per acre.

Miller agreed, predicting a below average crop.

“Things could certainly turn around if we get a week of sunshine,” he said. “But, all things considered, there is little chance for dense stands.”

District Extension Director Bob Robinson of Amarillo said wheat is rated very poor to excellent in the Panhandle.

“Good soil moisture will allow wheat to respond quickly when temperatures warm,” he said. “An occasional greenbug is being reported in the southwest part of the Panhandle.”

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