While the 2011 HRW wheat harvest began in the coastal regions of Texas some 3 weeks ago it reached the Blacklands/Hill Country (south of Dallas) early last week moving to the Texas/Oklahoma border this week before rain (too little too late) shut combines down. This is some 10 days – two weeks ahead of normal harvest for southern Oklahoma, and an indicator of how devastating the drought has been. South Texas has been reporting good test weights and very good protein on wheat that has been harvested. However, triple digit temperatures, low humidity and high winds last weekend over a wide area of the Southern Plains significantly affected an already dismal crop. The Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, and areas of southwest Kansas experienced these conditions with a crop that ranges in maturity from the final stages of grainfill (OK) to just pollinating (KS), the worst possible time for high moisture demands on plants with limited root development due to drought. Many of these same areas were hit in early April with a late freeze and coupled with the conditions last weekend has resulted in an increased activity of already active insurance adjusters in the region.
Following USDA May numbers estimating yield in Texas (numbers compiled before the high moisture demands of last weekend) indicated in a rectangular area on a line from Abilene to the New Mexico line and from Abilene to the Oklahoma line (width of the Texas Panhandle extending to south of Lubbock), last year harvested just over 103 million bushels and will this year only harvest an estimated 23 million bushels.
View this PDF for visual test data from the 2009 harvest.