Northeast Texas wheat farmers are finishing up what many say will be the best crop they’ve ever made.

Yields from the mid-70 bushel range up into triple digits are even more astounding considering that much of the crop suffered hard freeze damage more than once during the growing season.

A cold snap that sent temperatures into the teens in early March froze the wheat down to the crown, says Texas AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist Jim Swart.

“In early March we were basically starting from scratch,” Swart said Monday as he toured harvest operations in several Northeast Texas counties. “But it tillered back and produced adequate heads to make the yields we’re seeing now.”

He said the freeze may have killed some of the plant pathogens that typically infest wheat as it heads to maturity in spring. “We had light plant disease pressure this year,” he said. Most producers in the area routinely apply a fungicide (tebuconazole), “and we got a little yield bump from fungicide this year,” he added, “but disease pressure was nowhere near as severe as we often see.”

Swart says this crop may be “one for the record books.”

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Farmers agree. Ben Scholz was cutting one of his last fields near Farmersville and said overall yields were among the best he’s ever made. “Yield monitors have shown above 100 bushels per acre in some fields,” he said. “We’re making a lot of 70 to 80-bushel wheat.”

Scholz said his overall yield will not quite reach the 80-bushel mark but will push into the high 70s. “I’ll work on getting a little better stand next year,” he said.

Test weight has also stayed up. “We’re holding around 60,” he said. “Part of that is due to variety, Coker 9553.”

He said dockage has remained low with few immature seed. He thinks fungicide and variety each played a role.