Drought has hit the southern Great Plains of Texas and Oklahoma hard and that has affected the winter wheat crop. According to a report released by the Texas office of National Agricultural Statistic Service last week, Texas's winter wheat crop will be 15% smaller than 2007 at 118.9 million bushels.
The report surprised some industry analysts who had been projecting the Texas harvest at less than 100 million bushels based on the fact that 47% of the state's wheat crop is rated in poor to very poor condition. There is speculation that record high wheat prices are reducing the amount of abandonment.
Texas is the only state that makes an official forecast for winter wheat this early, but indications are that Oklahoma will see an increase in wheat harvested from 2007, but expect it to fall short of the 10-year average. Recent rains in Oklahoma and Kansas have improved conditions, but according to Oklahoma State University, western Oklahoma and particularly the panhandle still have very poor crops.
Texas and Oklahoma have experienced much lower winter wheat production than usual over the last three years. In 2007, they accounted for about 13% of the total U.S. wheat crop, and about a third of the country's hard red winter wheat. The first national wheat projection will be released May 9.