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Wheat harvest underway in Texas

By Justin Walker

Wheat harvest across Texas is in varying stages. Some farmers are finished, while others haven’t started.

The ongoing drought, according to Texas Farm Bureau Associate Director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities Brant Wilbourn, has negatively impacted this year’s wheat crop in some areas, especially in the Panhandle.

“Most of the wheat planted in that area is used for grazing, with the hopes that later you can cut it for grain as well,” he said. “A lot of the farmers will probably just have to graze it this year and not cut it for grain.”

Drought conditions in the Panhandle may impact harvesting, but Wilbourn said most of Central Texas has received enough rain to avoid the issue.

“From what I’ve seen around Waco and farther south, it’s been average to above average,” Wilbourn said.

Jay Davis, a wheat farmer in Ellis County, said this year’s crop was much better than last year’s, even with protein levels being down.

“We had much better yields this year,” he said. “We are looking at a much better market this year. Still not where we’d like it to be, but certainly an improved market.”

Davis said he expects the wheat crop to profitable this year, despite planting less wheat than previous years.

Weather in the area has been good for wheat farmers, although hot and dry weather in October effected planting.

“We delayed planting because of the weather,” Davis said.

Ryan Novak, who farms in Atascosa County, said the dry start to the season was also felt in South Texas. Novak said many farmers in the area were on the fence about planting due to the weather at the time, and even he decided not to plant wheat this year.

“The dry season, coupled with the low prices at the time, played into my decision,” he said.

Novak said that for the South Texas farmers who did plant this year, timely rains helped some grow a quality crop.

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