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Serving: East

Texas winter wheat crop worst in 35 years

Texas wheat producers will harvest for grain the least number of acres since 1925, based on numbers from the May Texas Agricultural Statistics Service estimates.

Estimates also indicate Texas wheat production, 35.1 million bushels, will be the lowest since 1971.

“Texas production was 31.4 million bushels in 1971,” says Rodney Mosier, executive vice president, Texas Wheat Producers Board and Association. “We have to go all the way back to 1957 to find another year comparable to 2006 and 1971,” Mosier says. Production that year was 33.6 million bushels.

“This is the worst crop in 35 years.”

Mosier says yield average is estimated at 27 bushels, down from 41 bushels per acre in April.

Production estimate is 63 percent lower than the 2005 crop. The 1.3 million acres still intended for grain harvest is 57 percent lower than last year, he said.

The May forecast put Texas wheat at 26 percent of normal, compared to 71 percent at the same time last year. Only 26 percent of the crop is rated fair to good and 74 percent is considered poor to very poor.

Mosier says in the Texas Plains some wheat is being grazed, some cut for hay and some has been destroyed by hail. In the Blacklands, wheat is still being grazed, cut for hay and much has been plowed under to allow producers to plant other crops.

Wheat producers across the state were devastated by drought conditions that stretched from early last fall through early May. Much of the crop never germinated. Some acreage germinated following rainfall in early 2006 only to succumb to conditions that remained too dry and too warm. Some of the crop received too little cool weather to vernalize.

In late spring many wheat fields in East Texas showed patches of headed wheat beginning to turn amber surrounded by spots of green wheat that never headed out.

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