Amarillo area wheat farmers hopeful for better growing season

KFDA Amarillo Wheat Farms Being Affected

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The various extremes of weather we’ve had in the Panhandle area in the last year have greatly affected wheat production.

Extreme weather conditions such as the early freeze we saw in October, to a very dry winter last year, have lowered wheat production in this area.

Farmers are hoping for a very different outcome this year.

Weather is one of the most important factors in wheat farming.

“When we talk about the cyclical patterns of the weather events we’ve had over the High Plains over the last year, it really has affected wheat going into this wheat cropping season," says Jourdan Bell, Regional Agronomist for Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension.

Bell says “we’ve gone from very wet conditions over the summer to very dry conditions” which has major impacts on the planting and growing process of wheat.

Cattle raisers saw the most impact from last season.

“What could impact High Plains farmers this winter could just be a lack of forage production,” says Bell.

Because the wheat grown in the Panhandle has a dual purpose for grain and cattle grazing, a slowed production season could impact the amount of grazing that cattle can do.

Although cattle are affected by a slowed down wheat season, consumers should not be.

“We have a pretty stable wheat supply not only in Texas but also in the U.S.,", says Steelee Fischbacher, Director of Policy for Texas Wheat Producers. “So that means we grow a significant portion that we don’t actually need here at home, and we can send it around the world.”

Weather conditions are looking much better so far in the New Year, which makes farmers hopeful for this year’s growing season.

“What we have right now is good moisture status, and so that should lend to a good wheat year if conditions hold throughout the season,” says Fischbacher.

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