Variety selection is always a crucial factor in planting wheat or any other crop, Miller said. “But under drought conditions, choosing the right variety is even more important. He recommends growers look at Texas AgriLife variety trials. The Texas A&M website http://varietytesting.tamu.edu/wheat/, provides information on many varieties and over several years and diverse locations.

“Stability over time is important,” Miller said. “Look at variety trials from multiple locations. We have 30 or 35 trials across the state every year.”

He said the variety trial website shows top performers.

Fertility, Miler said, is important even during drought conditions. “During a drought, don’t starve the crop,” he said. “Soil sample,” to make certain wheat has adequate nutrition.

He said timing is also important. “Nitrogen uptake is highest at jointing. The plant uses little nitrogen in early growth stages. If the plant has poor nutrition at seed set/spike,” yield will suffer.

Weed management plays a key role in wheat production in either drought or more normal seasons. “Watch herbicide labels to identify proper timing and potential crop injury.” He says paying attention to the growth stage of the crop and the target weed improves control and reduces potential for crop loss. “Don’t let weeds get too big,” he said.

 Miller said wheat farmers should check fields for resistant ryegrass and develop rotation or other control strategies to combat the problem if identified.

Prevention is a key, he said. “Weed-free wheat seed” is a good first step. Clean equipment, rotation and using the proper herbicide rates are also important tools in managing resistant weeds. “Don’t cut herbicide rates,” he said.

Fungicide applications will pay on varieties that are susceptible to specific diseases. He said a variety such as TAM 112, which is susceptible to several wheat diseases, may experience “a huge yield advantage with a split or late fungicide application.” A variety such as TAM 304, which has disease resistance, “gets less advantage from fungicide applications.”

Miller said Texas wheat acreage, including wheat for grain, wheat for grazing and dual-use wheat, stabilized at about 6 million acres.

Production has been variable for the past few years because of drought.