COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Winter wheat is bringing a good price, but yields are suffering, Texas Cooperative Extension reports. Most producers weren't able to benefit from the outstanding wheat crop of a month ago, said Brent Bean of Amarillo, Extension agronomist.

"Grain fields looked very promising during April and May, but by the time wheat flowered, the weather was hot and dry," Bean said. "Flowering is a critical time for wheat, and if that critical time falls during damaging weather, yields are going to fall."

Travis Miller of College Station, Extension agronomist, said this year's wheat acreage and number of bushels produced is average, but had potential for more.

"The projected harvest for Texas winter wheat is around 110 million bushels," he said.

The Texas Agricultural Statistics Service reported this year's winter wheat crop is 23 percent higher than last year's and 52 percent higher than in 2002.

"It's a successful crop; yields are just down compared to what we had hoped for," Bean said.

The Panhandle's harvest is 85 percent finished, Bean reported. Weeks of rainy weather have delayed completion.

"Producers haven't been able to get out in the field," Bean said. "Harvest started the first week of June, but then was postponed because of bad weather."

A harvest delay with prolonged rainfall reduces wheat quality, Miller said.

"If the seed is dry and a field is at harvest maturity, a lot of rain on a wheat crop tends to make it lie down or cause sprouting in the spike," he said.

The weather may have caused a decline in yield and quality, but it didn't water-log prices, Miller said.

"Wheat prices have been above average," he said. "I've seen many remain in the upper $3 range (per bushel)."

Todd Baughman of Vernon, Extension agronomist, said wheat harvest has picked up in the Rolling Plains where fields have dried enough.

Jet Major of Lubbock, district Extension administrator, reported storms with hail and high winds destroyed an estimated 2,000 to 20,000 acres of cotton in the South Plains. About 5,000 acres of corn were lost as well. Producers will decide over the following weeks on whether or not to replant.

Dale Fritz of Bryan, district Extension administrator, reported excess amounts of rain across the Southeast district has caused field activity to stop. Fruits and melons are having problems with brown rot and plants dying because of all the rain, he said.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com