Beneficial rainfall results in above-average fall-sown wheat

Newswise – Texas Crop and Weather Report – October 24, 2023. Jordan Bell, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension agronomist, Amarillo, said he expects above-average acres to be planted in the northern High Plains as a result of improved soil moisture, but planting in the central High Plains has been delayed due to warm weather. , dry conditions. Many of the cultivated fields southwest of Amarillo have not yet emerged or are already dry.

2024 production planning and planting

Rainfall has been scarce, but wheat fields planted in the northernmost counties are doing well, Bell said. Crop progress should continue to improve in areas with timely rains, he noted.

Wheat has a very long growing season. Many producers use wheat to graze their beef cattle during the winter months. Pasture fields are planted from late August to early September, although wheat planting conditions are ideal in October.

“By planting in October, we avoid damaging early fall insect pressure and reduce the risk of wheat mite infestation, which will cause wheat stripe mosaic virus,” Bell said.

Growers planting wheat for grain only have a longer planting window and can wait until mid-November to plant the crop.

Mark Welch, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension grain marketing economist, Bryan-College Station, said he expects the 2024 wheat crop to have a better production environment as weather patterns shift from La Niña to El Niño.

“We've noticed that wheat yields better during El Niño weather events,” Welch said. “The 2024 crop has an advantage because this El Nino should be relatively strong.”

World wheat market and changes in wheat prices

The world wheat market is driven by what Russia does, Welch said, and the conflict in Ukraine continues to be part of that influence.

“Wheat is a globally traded commodity, and something as disruptive as a war in a region that grows about 15% of the world's wheat can affect wheat prices,” Welch said. “These price impacts are significant for US producers, who produce 6-8% of the world's wheat.”

Over the past few years, Russia has been supplying more wheat to the world market; And price volatility has become increasingly dependent on what Russia is doing: production, exports, geopolitical events.

“How much we produce, how much we export and other political developments — Russia has more leverage in the world wheat market at a time when world wheat supplies are dwindling,” Welch said.

Since 2020 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, prices have risen from $4 to $12 a bushel. Wheat prices in Texas last week were $5.90 a bushel, about the same as for summer 2021.

“The U.S. is self-sufficient in wheat production,” Welch said. “In a typical marketing year, we import about 120 million bushels of wheat, about 5% of total consumption. All these factors are important for the prices of major food grains in the world market. “

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

The map of the state of Texas is divided by region


The week began with temperatures in the low 30s in some areas, but reached record highs later in the week. Conditions were dry and windy. Stock tanks and rivers kept the water level low. The pecan harvest began with a very small harvest. The cotton area that was not harvested was largely abandoned. Winter wheat and oats were sown, most of them for pasture. Other growers are still preparing to plant wheat and oats. Ryegrass started to emerge and dried up quickly in some areas due to lack of moisture, while other areas were reported to have a promising crop. Many tree problems have been reported, along with various plant-related diseases such as black spot and powdery mildew. Fall armyworms have been reported in some fields with high outbreak potential due to expected rainfall and low temperatures. They added livestock, and the last hay was baled. Cattle remained in good body condition.

rolling plains

Most of the county was close to planting winter wheat. All the growers were hoping that the rain would boost their crops and give them a good start in the fall. Rain was also needed for the area's pastures and drinking sources for livestock. Most cattle were fed hay and supplements due to poorer than average pasture conditions. The hope was that with good rains and a strong start on wheat, cattle could be grazed on wheat pastures.

coastal bend

Moderate temperatures, low humidity and a week of sunshine allowed field work to continue with discs, spraying and row setting. Some producers already wanted to start fertilization. All crops were harvested except for the second crop of rice. Cultivation of winter pastures continued. Some hay produced final cutting in areas with sufficient rainfall to support sufficient growth. By winter, hay supplies were dwindling and in doubt. There have been reports of dead patches in pastures and hay fields that will take time to fill and reduce yields. Army worms continued to be present but not as bad as expected after the recent rains and lush growth. Livestock producers continued to cull and kill cows. Some producers continued to add protein and hay. The pecan crop was in full swing and yields were fair. In some areas where pecans were better managed, good quality crops were obtained.


The region needs more rain. The condition of the soil has deteriorated. Pasture and field conditions were quite good despite the lack of rainfall. Subsoil and topsoil conditions were adequate and short. Growers continued to struggle to cut the last of the hay. Animal husbandry was doing fairly well and some additions were being made. Hay supplies were already short for many growers. Armyworms have invaded pastures and hay meadows in many areas. Gregg County has reported problems with feral hogs and gophers.

Southern Plains

Mild temperatures allowed growers to use harvest aids for cotton. Farmers were busy preparing cotton harvest. A few began to undress; Others waited a few more days before the leafy plants were ready to harvest. The first bale of cotton was harvested in a local cooperative. This year, most of the dry cotton in the districts was a total loss. Those fields were being prepared for winter wheat harvest. Producers planted winter cover crops such as wheat and winter peas and continued to cut hay and grain. Maize was harvested throughout the area and most of the sorghum was harvested. The cattle were in good condition.


Strong winds and very dry conditions continued to prevail in the region. Some growers dusted their wheat crops hoping for some moisture. As irrigated wheat progressed, several producers began drilling wells for pasture. Some countries have ended their corn harvest and started to harvest grain sorghum. Silage choppers continued and some producers finished the year very quickly. Cover crops were planted on several fields from which forage for silage was obtained. Defoliation of cotton was in progress. The cotton crop was expected to be extremely limited due to adverse weather conditions during the planting season. Dry conditions have affected pastures and meadows, causing it to go dormant.


Pasture and field conditions ranged from fair to very poor for most counties. Moisture in the underground and upper layers was short. Fall temperatures fell into the low 50s overnight across the region. The much needed rain will help the grass grow and the seeds to be planted. Hay harvest continued in some areas of the region. Some producers fed hay throughout October. The volunteer rye was beginning to germinate. The winter wheat planting was up and doing well. Grass populations were increasing. There were many reports of trees in the city showing symptoms of the disease; Most were oak trees. Livestock was in good condition and continued to improve.

Far West

Temperatures were average for this time of year. Daytime temps were in the mid 80's and high 90's and nighttime temps were in the 50's. The region needed rain to improve soil moisture and field conditions. Subsoil moisture remained unchanged, ranging from short to adequate. Lack of rain led to poor crop conditions and was the biggest contributing factor to grassland degradation. The cotton crop continued to advance, with an extremely poor crop reported. Growers were considering having insurance adjusters come out and inspect irrigated acres because yields were even lower than expected. Ginning was expected to begin at the end of the week. Cotton was picked and baled. Wheat continued to be planted beyond the yielded cotton, as well as plowed dryland acres. This year, wheat hectares were expected to increase again. Pumpkins and late season watermelons and cantaloupe were harvested. Livestock were in good condition, but producers were still gathering hay and grain. Producers have taken out all late lambs, kids and older ewes and nannies.

West Central

Temperatures remained in the upper 80s to upper 70s, with no precipitation in the area. Areas that have received little rain have seen an increase in armyworms. The soil continued to dry. Growers increased field preparation and small grain planting. Growers who have already planted small grains have noticed poor root formation. The cotton crop was in poor condition and few acres were expected to be harvested; Growers waiting for the harvest finished spraying cotton. Some producers were cutting the last hay. The pecan trees were suffering from the drought. Forest and pasture conditions lacked food. During the warm season, food growth slowed due to cooler nighttime temperatures. Fall cattle work and calf shipping continued. Dust pneumonia was a problem in animal husbandry. Producers continued to supplement livestock and bring water to herds in drought-stricken areas.

South East

Dry conditions continued with mild temperatures offering relief. Cool nights slowed food growth. The rice harvest is over. Producers continued to cut and store hay. The burn ban has been lifted. The cotton harvest continued. Low temperatures slowed the growth of warm-season plants and trees began to go dormant. Many growers have noticed an increase in the number of armyworms. With surface water available for livestock at 65%, some producers have started spreading lime. Producers continued to supplement their livestock; Many producers continued to slaughter cattle.


The region has experienced prolonged dry weather with limited rainfall over the past week. Although intermittent rain and low temperatures helped to maintain soil moisture and range conditions, it was not enough to significantly improve the situation. Dry conditions persisted and there was little change from last week. The lack of rainfall continued to be a concern for some producers, who continued to sell cattle weekly, but numbers were dwindling. Livestock supplements continued.

the south

Cooler temperatures swept the region, with highs in the mid-80s. Growers were harvesting groundnuts and planting small grains. Some producers have been spraying to prepare armyworms. Strawberry growers applied fertilizer and mulch. Early varieties of oranges were being harvested, while other citrus growers with late-season varieties tried to irrigate and fertilize their trees to improve fruit size and yield. The cotton harvest is over. Meadows and pastures were in good condition with cooler nighttime temperatures. Producers continued to cut and balance hay. Producers continued to supplement their herds. Local markets reported average volume with high prices for all grades of beef.

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