Dry winter slows wheat growth

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:57 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - According to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand estimates, winter wheat acres in Texas were up 26% compared to last year.

Winter may not be the typical season to grow crops because of the cooler temperatures but it is the ideal time for wheat to be grown however that is if it’s accompanied by some rain. Lately, the crop hasn’t received much of either which has caused it to emerge late in the fall and affected its growth rate.

“The wheat crop was planted late and has not grown that much just because it turned cool before it got real big but one of the pluses was we did get some rainfall going on early in the winter and that made a tremendous difference,” David Graf, agent of agriculture and natural resources, said.

Wheat is usually 6-8 inches high by this time in the year, but right now most wheat is only grown up to four inches, and though that is shorter than usual there is still hope for the crop.

“We’ve got some time, we probably need another rain even though we had good moisture for a while well need a little bit more moisture in the next few weeks,” Graf said.

Graf says rain is needed soon before the top of the wheat dries up and the roots will need to grow deeper into the soil.

Kenneth McAlister explained what would happen should farmers not receive any rain any time soon.

“We get concerned next when it goes out of dormancy we go to put the heads in and then if it gets ahead in there at an earlier stage and if we get an Easter freeze then were in a lot more trouble,” McAlister said.